Japan Tobacco International (JTI) has stepped up its fight against illicit tobacco by introducing a new postcode facility to its website so retailers can check how their locality is affected.
The “Postcode Calculator” has been added to its trade-facing website www.jtiadvance.co.uk/DontBeComplicit.
By entering a postcode area such as SE, GL or WV retailers will be able to find out how many seizures and/or prosecutions have taken place near that location since 2017, including estimates of the quantity and total value of illegal tobacco reported.
There is also the option to expand their search to cover the wider area – for instance from LU Luton to East of England – to view the percentage of non-UK duty paid cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco in their region versus the UK average.
Ian Howell, UK anti-illicit trade manager at JTI, commented: “Illicit tobacco remains a serious problem and this new feature on our microsite is the latest development from JTI to support retailers in the fight against this issue. Our hope is that this new tool will enable retailers to remain vigilant and raise awareness of the scale of the problem in their local area.
“As well as keeping retailers informed, we are also hopeful that it will help raise awareness of illicit trade and its effects on communities across the country. We also want to encourage retailers to report any suspected sellers in their area, through the anonymous reporting function on the microsite.”
Commenting on the new tool, Girish Chavda, owner of Nisa New Eltham Food and Wine, said: “With the restrictions on overseas travel and pubs closed due to Covid-19, I’ve noticed a considerable uplift in my tobacco sales over the last few months. To me, this really highlights the scale of the illicit tobacco trade in my area and how much revenue retailers are potentially missing out on to criminals. w
“I think this new tool by JTI is a brilliant idea, and I’d welcome any material that I can display in my shop that helps inform customers about the scale of the illicit tobacco trade in my area. There’s no doubt that more needs to be done to combat the illicit trade but it’s good to see manufacturers like JTI stepping up and doing something about it.”