Imagining a world with no licit tobacco

| May 30, 2013

On the eve of World No Tobacco Day, British American Tobacco has posed the question: ‘What would a world with no legal tobacco industry really look like?’

And it has provided an answer. ‘The reality is that people will continue to smoke,’ said group head of corporate and regulatory affairs, Kingsley Wheaton, in a statement posted on the company’s website. ‘But instead of buying legal taxed cigarettes, made by legitimate tobacco companies and sold by reputable retailers, they’ll turn to black market sources to get what they want.

‘The tobacco industry is highly regulated, sells a legal product and we have a legitimate business. We conduct our business in a professional and responsible way, abiding by the laws in all the countries we operate in, often going above and beyond our legal obligations.

‘Unfortunately the same can’t be said for the sophisticated network of criminals ready and waiting to step-in and take over if the legitimate tobacco industry didn’t exist.’

The note then went on to say that the ‘global black market for tobacco accounted for 660 billion (Framework Convention Alliance) cigarette sales in 2012, making it roughly equivalent in volume to the world’s third largest multinational tobacco company. It is not a victimless crime. Illegal tobacco is sold by well-organised criminal gangs, some of whom have recognised links to terrorism.’

The full text is available at:

And BAT’s vision of what the world would look like without a legal tobacco industry has been ‘brought to life’ in a series of pictures that can be found at: on Flickr and on YouTube.

Category: Breaking News

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