The Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has encouraged people to dob in criminals selling illicit tobacco.
There are many instances of illicit tobacco in Australia including out of the back of cars and through dishonest retailers.
AACS said illicit tobacco accounts for nearly 14% of the total tobacco market in Australia, in turn this costs the Australian Government over $1.6billion in lost tax revenue per annum.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said consumers are risking more than they are saving.
“With no genuine country of origin, no quality control standards, and no idea what these products contain, consumers may be putting themselves at more risk than they realise,” he said.
“They are also, perhaps unwittingly, participating in a criminal market that is spiralling out of control.
Mr Rogut said it is gangs who supply the illict tobacco product and they are profiting in huge numbers.
“With the high taxation applied to legal tobacco, retailers of legal tobacco products are being targeted by violent robberies at a frightening rate,” he said.
“A coordinated response is needed to address this issue and to help honest retailers feel safe again. Part of the solution is to crack down on those unscrupulous sources of illicit tobacco in the community, so if you see someone selling illegal cigarettes, dob them in.”
If you witness these products being sold and purchased, AACS encourages you to inform the police and report your concerns to the Australian Taxation Office on 1800 060 062 or at www.ato.gov.au/reportaconcern.