EU Cigarette Smuggling Strategy

On 6 June 2013 the Commission published a Communication which sets out an EU strategy to tackle cigarette smuggling as well as other forms of illicit trade in tobacco products. The Committee decided to conduct enhanced scrutiny on the issue, and heard evidence from the EU Anti-Fraud Office and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in July 2013. The Committee wrote to the Government on 11 September 2013. A reply was received from the Government on 27 September 2013.

The Communication sets out the European Commission’s proposal for an EU strategy to tackle the illicit trade in tobacco products. The Commission’s view is that the availability of cheap, illicit tobacco products continues to undermine efforts to reduce smoking prevalence, impacts legitimate businesses, and costs EU Member States an estimated 10 billion euro in annual losses. The Communication includes an Action Plan setting out a number of policy and operational measures to be developed and implemented over the next two years. In particular, the strategy focuses on measures to secure the supply chain of the legal trade in cigarettes and to strengthen the enforcement of rules and regulations tackling smuggling.