Governments need to work together to successfully crack down on the sale of illicit tobacco, according to Philip Morris Limited’s (PML) global head of illicit trade prevention operations, Nicolas Otte.
Speaking exclusively to Better Retailing last month, at the tobacco company’s smokefree ‘Technovation’ event in Switzerland, Otte named Poland as an example for other countries to learn from.
“The decreasing consumption of illicit cigarettes in countries like Poland is remarkable and reassuring,” he said. “It showcases the impact of effective law enforcement against criminals profiting from illicit trade in a market where better alternatives to smoking are available and more affordable.”
Otte went on to stress the need for more funding for trading standards to ensure laws are being enforced. “We hear accounts from retailers, complaining that they haven’t seen enforcement officers for years, which obviously pushes them to not feel confident in reporting,” he explained.
“Enforcement bodies are understaffed and under resourced, so we need to look at getting everyone working together.”
Otte said PML could help facilitate such conversations. “I ask governments to please look, and we are happy to help because we are in a unique position to be working with different law enforcement agencies across the world.”
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