I am advised by the Revenue Commissioners that the incidence of illicit cigarette consumption in the State is estimated on the basis of a survey of smokers carried out by IPSOS MRBI on behalf of Revenue and the National Tobacco Control Office of the HSE. The survey for 2012 indicated that 13% of all smokers were classified as having an illegal cigarette pack. The comparable figure from a similar survey carried out in 2011 was 15%. I am aware that there are other estimates of the incidence of illicit tobacco products in the Irish market. However, Revenue considers the figures from the IPSOS MRBI survey to be the most reliable, on the basis of the methodologies used, the consistent manner in which the surveys have been undertaken over a number of years and because the survey distinguishes between legal personal imports and contraband cigarettes. The surveys are geographically representative and also take social class, age, gender and nationality into account.
I am advised that a similar survey will be carried out in respect of the current year and it is anticipated that the results will be available in the first quarter of next year.