From 20 July 2023, new sanctions came into force which means businesses and individuals selling illicit tobacco can receive a penalty of up to £10,000.
Trading Standards officers will now have the power to refer cases to HMRC for further investigation where businesses or individuals have been found to sell illicit tobacco. HMRC, where appropriate, will administer the penalties and ensure the appropriate sanction is applied and enforced. Depending on the severity of the breach, rule-breaking businesses could:
- Receive a penalty of between £2,500 and £10,000 for the supply of products which contravene Tobacco Track & Trace (TT&T)
- Have their products seized
- Lose their license in the UK by having their Economic Operator ID withdrawn
The new powers build on the successful work of Operation CeCe, a joint initiative between HMRC and National Trading Standards to tackle the illicit tobacco trade, which has removed 27 million illicit cigarettes and 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco from sale in its first two years.
Trade in such products costs the exchequer over £2 billion in lost tax revenue each year. It also damages legitimate businesses, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to young people.
Read the guidance about the new sanctions here.
To find out more or to confidentially report offenders in your area go to https://noifs-nobutts.co.uk/ or call 029 2049 0621
Tobacco often ends up in the hands of children
Roger Mapleson, Wrexham’s Trading Standards and Licensing Lead, said, “Illicit tobacco typically costs about half the price of legitimate producst and is available in our local communities. Low cost and easy availability makes it easier for children to start smoking and get hooked and it makes harder for existing smokers who are trying to quit.
“If you’re aware of sales going on in your area please report it on the number above.”
Kate Pike, Lead Officer for the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, said, “Trading Standards Officers across the country work with colleagues in Public Health to reduce the harm from smoking and with enforcement partners to disrupt criminality in our communities.
“We welcome this addition to our toolkit of measures to tackle illegal tobacco, ensuring that those who seek to profit from supplying these products face substantial penalties for doing so, and their ability to continue to trade is severely impacted”
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