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Lords scrutinises EU strategy on tobacco smuggling

The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU-Sub Committee will conduct enhanced scrutiny of the EU's strategy against illicit tobacco smuggling on Wednesday 17 July.

It will question Nicholas Ilett, Director of Investigations II, EU Anti-Fraud Organisation (OLAF) about the illegal trade in cigarettes and other forms of tobacco products.

The session follows the letter sent to Anna Soubry, Public Health Minister, on the EU's proposed Tobacco Products Directive, which was the subject of the Committee's previous enhanced scrutiny.

Areas that Mr Ilett is likely to face questions on include:

  • what the main drivers of the illicit trade in tobacco products in the EU are and the relevance of the difference in taxation levels between Member States in terms of producing incentives;
  • the effect the economic crisis has had on the smuggling of illicit tobacco in the EU;
  • OLAF's role in the preparation of the proposed Tobacco Products Directive;
  • how effective the cooperation between EU institutions, such as Europol and OLAF, and national authorities is in tackling the illicit trade in the EU; and
  • whether there is a risk that the provisions in the proposed Tobacco Products Directive to ban menthol cigarettes and to standardise elements of tobacco packaging will make it easier to produce counterfeit goods.

The evidence session will take place on Wednesday 17 July at 11.00am in Committee Room 3.

The sessions will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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