Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Illicit tobacco: Two stories, UK and London, Ontario

On the UK side, resources for intercepting illicit substances at the ports (a reserved issue handled by the UK Borders Agency) are not being deployed effectively: a combination of cuts and political pressure mean that borders agency staff are concentrating on illegal immigration control at the expense of illicit substances. Of course there are tobacco seizures by other enforcement agencies, i.e. trading standards officers and police: this one, for example. (But of course far more of it gets through the sieve that is the UKBA.)

TobaccoPoster3In Ontario, Canada, the story is even more absurd. Tobacconists, the first people in the money chain to be hit by illegal imports of tobacco, have been ordered to remove educational posters warning their customers of the presence of illegal tobacco in the community and its harmful effects. The logic of the Middlesex–London Health Unit runs thus:
“They are promoting tobacco use. They are promoting a product. In essence the materials really say, ‘Don’t buy illegal tobacco, we here happen to have legal tobacco for sale’,” said Linda Stobo, program manager for tobacco control with MLHU.
Of course that's exactly what the posters say. How could I possibly think otherwise?

Incredibly the report adds: 'No charges have been laid at any London store because of the posters.' Charges laid! The report gives the indignant President of the Ontario Convenience Stores Association a fair hearing and notes the distress of some of the traders who have been forced to remove their posters.

I'm not a gambler, but I wouldn't bet on illicit tobacco going out of fashion any time soon.


Smoking Hot said...

John Vine is a prat. He's ignored countless requests about the illegal tactics by HMRC/UKBA.

Talking of which, did you know that over half of the seizures of cigarettes that UKBA/HMRC claim to have seized are false?

These are classed as 'Overseas Seizures' where they have no jurisdiction whatsoever so cannot seize anything! What they do is say German Customs seize a lorry load of cigarettes, HMRC/UKBA also claim them because they 'say' they could be for the UK.

Smoking Hot said...

To make up their other figures they target legitimate cross-border shoppers!

westcoast2 said...

You have to smile.

Sooner or later they will realise that 'No Smoking' signs are promoting smoking as they remind people to smoke somewhere else.

west2 - Middlesex UK