This is a matter that comes primarily within the remit of the Revenue Commissioners who are responsible for tackling the illicit trade in cigarettes and tobacco products. I am aware that Revenue attaches a high priority to combating tobacco smuggling and the illegal sale of tobacco products and has adopted a comprehensive strategy, underpinned by annual action plans, in this regard. Revenue’s Strategy on Combating the Illicit Tobacco Trade (2011-2013), is published on www.revenue.ie.
A key action under the 2011-2013 Strategy is, in partnership with other Government agencies, to focus on reducing demand for contraband tobacco through educating the public on the negative aspects of contraband i.e. tax loss, criminality and health risks. Revenue optimises media coverage for prosecutions, significant seizures and enforcement activities. Where large seizures are made, Revenue takes the opportunity to encourage members of the public to provide information to Revenue on the sale of illicit tobacco products.
The confidential free phone tobacco smuggling number operated by Revenue is promoted through its website. The phone number is included in press releases relating to cigarette and tobacco seizures and is also promoted by Revenue in radio and television interviews concerning the illicit tobacco trade and on relevant trade websites and in trade publications. Revenue is happy to accept the assistance of the public through the provision of information in the fight against the illicit tobacco trade.