Illegal Tobacco Trade in Australia
The fallout from Australia’s tough new take on tobacco products can already be seen in the illicit tobacco trade that has built up across the nation. This dangerous illegal trade network is already filling a large gap in Australia’s tobacco consumption by providing as much as 15% of the nation’s current tobacco sales each year according to a News.com report.
The Dangers of Black Market Tobacco
As with any product or substance sold on the black market, there are inherent risks to the user. Some health officials are questioning the purity of these tobacco products, and whether or not smokers could be subjected to even more harmful chemicals and byproducts than they were already getting from traditional cigarettes. With no oversight and no accountability, it’s impossible to know what is being added to black market products. Officials warn that many of these products, even if they are brought in from other countries where they are legally produced, fail to meet minimum quality and safety guidelines in Australia.
Getting Into Bed With Organized Crime
Perhaps the most shocking result of this illicit tobacco trade is its ties to organized crime rings. While most smokers consider tobacco to be the least of the evils in the drug world, the truth is that crime rings have invested millions and millions of dollars into this enterprise, and they are set to make good returns on their money. Choosing to purchase tobacco products on the black market means that once innocent smokers are actually fueling and contributing to organizations that are known for their egregious violations of local and international laws. There have been dozens of seizures of illegal tobacco products across Australia already, totaling millions of dollars of product, and stiff fines have been handed out to anyone caught in an illicit transaction in an effort to keep people from seeking out unregulated tobacco.
Robbing the Nation’s Coffers
Aside from the health risks and the legal implications of getting involved with an organized crime ring that’s dealing illicit tobacco, there are also some broader implications to consider. Many small shop owners have complained that a large amount of their profits have disappeared due to the widespread availability of illicit products on the streets. Tobacco seizures to date have proven that the nation is losing out on millions and millions of dollars of annual tax revenues as this alternative tobacco flows freely into the hands of buyers, a missed opportunity according to some critics.
Making Better Choices
Many people have argued that the ban on tobacco sales has not provided smokers with a better option, although vapor companies are set to assist with the transition. While e-liquids containing nicotine cannot be purchased throughout Australia, it’s legal to order these products online. For health and safety reasons vapor provides a good alternative and a reassurance of quality for smokers who aren’t ready to give up nicotine altogether. Tobacco flavored e-juices make this a simple switch that keeps you within the bounds of the law.