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Illegal trade in cigarettes ‘cost €320m in lost tax’

Illegal trade in cigarettes ‘cost €320m in lost tax’

LONDON: Illegal cigarettes cost the state more than €320 million in lost tax revenue last year, according to a new report.

A study of the illicit cigarette market across the European Union carried out by KPMG found that almost one in five cigarettes smoked in Ireland last year were illegally sourced. Irish smokers consumed the third-highest percentage of counterfeit and contraband cigarettes in the bloc at 17.5 per cent, it said. The estimated cost to the exchequer was €323 million. Sterling’s devaluation since the Brexit referendum in June last year lead to a 50 per cent increase in illegal cigarettes sourced from the UK, the report said.