The Factbook on the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products 3 – Ireland
This report is part of the project The Factbook on the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (henceforth ITTP).
The project has been developed by Transcrime after the Round Table on Proofing EU Regulation against the Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products hosted by Università Cattolica of Milan, on 5 May 2011. During the Round Table, participants (researchers and policymakers with experience in the field of the illicit trade in tobacco products) agreed on a research agenda concerning the ITTP (Transcrime 2011b). Items 3 and 6 of the research agenda focused on the need for better analysis of the tobacco market taking account of its dual nature (i.e. legal and illicit) and on how licit and illicit markets vary across different countries and regions. Given these considerations, Transcrime has developed the Factbook on the ITTP, a multi–annual research plan providing detailed analyses of the ITTP and of its relations with the legal market and other socioeconomic and political factors in a number of countries around the world.
The aim of the Factbook is to provide an innovative instrument able to shed light on the complex mechanisms behind the ITTP in different countries. This report focuses on Ireland. Given the close geographical, social, economic and cultural connections, it also focuses, where appropriate, on Northern Ireland, a part of the United Kingdom.1
Tobacco consumption is undoubtedly a danger for human health, and governments should carefully regulate the tobacco market. Illicit tobacco avoids state regulation and taxation and may jeopardize tobacco control policies. The Factbook will contribute to raising awareness about the global importance of the ITTP and about the strategies available to prevent it. The Factbook has been developed for a wide readership ranging from policymakers, through academics, to interested stakeholders, the intention being to provide a support to develop knowledge-based debates and policies on the ITTP.
The information gathered for this report originates from academic literature, grey literature, open sources, questionnaires and interviews with experts and stakeholders. While there are some studies on the ITTP in Ireland, the data–gathering phase of the projects encountered major difficulties due to the number of sources, institutions and stakeholders involved.
The results of the report do not claim to be exhaustive, nor an accurate reflection of criminal practices. They provide an initial assessment of the ITTP in Ireland and a starting point for future research.