Editor’s Note: The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Policy Paper “Countering Illicit Trade-Lessons from Abroad” is available here.

From: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A think tank has proposed several methods of combating illegal trade, including imposing a ban on the sale of duty-free cigarettes in Langkawi, Labuan and Tioman.

The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said the previous government had admitted that the tax-free islands were a source for illicit tobacco but previous proposals to ban the sale of duty-free tobacco had been passed over in favour of restrictions.

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From: Tobacco Control

Dardo Curti1, Ce Shang2, Frank J Chaloupka2,3,4, Geoffrey T Fong5,6


Background In Uruguay, real tobacco taxes increased significantly during 2005–2010 and 2014–2017 and decreased during 2010–2014. The effects of these tax changes on illegal and legal cigarette usage differed significantly when we compared cities in the middle and south of the country with cities on the border.

Objective This paper analyses whether supply side factors such as geographical location, distribution networks and the effectiveness of tobacco control play a significant role in sales and use of illegal cigarettes when tobacco taxes change, particularly given the price gap between legal and lower-priced illegal cigarettes.

From: Oxford Economics

Key Findings

This Report provides an overview of the nature of the illicit trade of cigarettes across a selection of Asian markets. It establishes estimates of consumption of illicit cigarettes and the impact this has on tobacco tax revenue. This is the sixth year of the Asia Illicit Tobacco Indicator Report, providing estimates for 16 markets: Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macao, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

  • Illicit Incidence was estimated at 14.6% across sixteen Asian markets in 2017, equivalent to 115.9 billion cigarettes where the applicable indirect taxes were not paid.