Impact of the illicit trade in cigarettes
Illicit cigarettes enter into the Jamaican market without paying taxes required by law, such as duty and the Special Consumption Tax (SCT) on cigarettes. The trading of illicit cigarettes is therefore an illegal act with the following implications: contravenes the provisions of Trade Marks Act and Copyright Act (in cases where the illicit cigarettes are a counterfeit of a legitimate brand), denies the Ministry of Finance of taxes authorized by law and hence, well-needed revenue, and deprives the National Health Fund of revenues.
Currently there are only two authorized distributors of cigarettes in Jamaica; Carreras Limited, marketer and distributor of the Craven “A”, Matterhorn, Dunhill and Rothmans brands of cigarettes and Mussons Jamaica Limited , marketer and distributor of the Marlboro and Green brands of cigarettes.
Carreras, as a part of its anti-illicit trade effort, has sought through its communication strategy, to educate both the national authorities and the public at large, of the nature of the illicit trade in cigarettes, its transnational character and the profitability of such a venture.
We are encouraged by the work and progress being made by the appropriate enforcement agencies, including the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Customs, to reduce the incidence of illicit trade in tobacco products.
It is therefore our intention to continue raising the awareness of the negative consequences of the illicit trade among the public and the appropriate agencies and to ensure that all products offered for sale as cigarettes in Jamaica meet the requirements for taxation, duties and product declaration.