Tobacco Smuggling in Africa


As the anti-tobacco world turns its gaze to the mass smuggling in Africa, we need to be looking at Europe’s policy on Codentify, which could make worldwide smuggling even worse.

For years now, people have been taking notice of the sickening levels of tobacco smuggling around the world. As research as shown, not only does it contribute to failings in public health, whereby regulatory bodies can’t properly identify the ingredients of smuggled tobacco, but also it has been linked to various terrorist groups who use their profits from counterfeit tobacco to commit violent atrocities across the world.

According to the Times of Malta, worldwide tobacco smuggling is up 28% this year.

But nowhere is tobacco smuggling more rampant than in Africa. Just last week, Front Page Magazine did an expose about how tobacco smuggling supports worldwide terrorism, and they put a particular spotlight on the illegal trade in Africa. They brought up our old friend Mokhtar Belmokhtar (aka “Mr. Marlboro”) as a prime example of how profits from the African counterfeit tobacco trade is funneled into terrorist organizations like Al-Mourabitoun.

All over the continent, authorities are catching people trying to smuggle cigarettes. Like this story from last week about two Zimbabwean truck drivers smuggling a cargo of illicit cigarettes valued at N$11.3 million (US $800,000) through Namibia.


According to Joseph Megero, Director of Africa Tobacco-Free Initiative an initiative that seeks to advance development and advocacy for tobacco control measures regionally: “Tobacco companies tend to raise the counterfeit issue with governments in Africa whenever the governments want to raise taxes on tobacco  products. This is done to ensure the poor smoker is still able to sustain his addiction to tobacco by affording to buy cigarettes.”
Many more stories like these come in daily. Some with more, some with less. But, considering the rampant corruption in Africa, this is only the tip of the iceberg, since these stories are those where the authorities do their jobs without taking bribes.
Unfortunately, the problem will only get worse before it gets better. As corruption in Africa deepens, and terrorist organizations and their adherents get more desperate, smuggling tobacco will be their ultimate cash cow.
Meanwhile, the EU (The recipients of much of this tobacco) is still trying to get their act together to prevent an influx of illegal tobacco, which could trigger a continental health crisis as well as billions of euros lost from unreported taxes.
Now, you would think that the first people that would want to put a stop to this are the tobacco companies themselves, Big Tobacco. After all, if someone is smuggling their products it must mean that they are stealing it right? It must mean that the smugglers are taking profits away from Big Tobacco.
You would be wrong. In fact, smuggling has a positive effect on industry executives. For one, the industry avoids millions of Euros in taxes since their product is traded out of the sight of authorities. That also means cheaper production costs per cigarette overall and a higher markup. And lastly, if consumers are paying less for cigarettes, it means there are more likely customers – especially those with less disposable income. Namely, the young and poor. Counterfeit cigarettes are a great way for Big Tobacco to get young kids addicted early – giving the industry a handful of long term customers.
But while policymakers around the world scramble to find a legitimate technology that would properly track-and-trace sales of tobacco, why would Big Tobacco want to get involved if it is benefiting from smuggled tobacco?
Because if you can manipulate the technology, you can manipulate the entire system. You could essentially oversee your own counterfeit empire.
Which is why it would be in their own interest to work with the EU to develop a signature technology as the choice fight against tobacco smuggling.
And that’s exactly what’s happened with Codentify. Developed and lobbied by Big Tobacco in order to be the puppeteers of a vast network of tobacco smuggling cells across the world, and particularly in Africa, where smuggling is currently off the charts. But it’s possible that Codentify’s imminent implementation into EU policy has revved up efforts to trade illicit cigarettes across the Mediterranean and in and out of Europe, where cigarette taxes are heavy.


That is why it’s imperative that Codentify not be allowed to be implemented. If it is chosen as the EU’s official technology, time will tell its effect. Smuggling – already at crippling levels – will skyrocket to unfathomable heights.
And meanwhile, Big Tobacco will be rolling in the riches; chuckling at how easily they duped the European Commission to take the system that they engineered for the very purpose of filling their own pockets.
So as the murmurs of Codentify’s instatement continue to fill the halls of the European Parliament, and as its members deliberate the pros and cons of the technology while Big Tobacco lobbyists indoctrinate and inflict their agenda – those with common sense must stand up and warn the people – and the politicians – what they are bringing upon themselves.
Whether it’s Codentify, Inexto or whatever the next front company Big Tobacco uses to market their useless and self-serving technology, it cannot be allowed to pass.

0 thoughts on “Tobacco Smuggling in Africa

  1. Come on giz a break, use some common sense. OF COURSE the tobacco companies are going to do alright – they always have. It’s not hard as they are dealing with numpties, blinkered fanatics and plain nutters in the anti-smoker pseudo-religious fold who they can play like an orchestra of harps. (‘saintly’ Big Pharma play them just the same, to boost their profits too). Everything anti-smoker fanatics do turns into gold for the big bad tobacco companies Just look at how well they are doing – leading the stockmarket and increasing their value almost on a daily basis. It is smokers and other decent members of the public, particularly the most needy, who suffer.

    There is a genuine popular market for tobacco that WILL be satisfied by legal means or not, just as there was with alcohol prohibition a 100 years ago – but these guys never learn. Whats more, they fallaciously think that the public are fools whom they can manipulate indefinitely with their false propaganda, moral panics and fear-mongering. Indeed some can be so deceived, but after a while most get to see through their poorly disguised mendacity, pious rants and puritanical mindset. Illicit tobacco is here to stay as long as anti-smoker nutters are foolishly funded or given any credence whatsoever. The criminals here are not smugglers but those who seek to impose their flawed values on others against their wishes. Ignorance is no defence against such behaviour and potential victims have a duty to fight against those who would victimise them.

    Purleese stop trying to excuse anti-smoker nutter callous and abusive treatment toward smokers as if they were some sort of religious order of prophets, defending the ‘weak’ (ie. those who refuse to comply) against the devil (ie. tobacco companies). Some credulous anti-smokers may have a delusional belief that they are the smokers Saviour – they aren’t, Smokers and tolerant non smokers CAN usually think for themselves – anti-smoker ‘help’ is not needed, thank you!

  2. I wasn’t even aware that tobacco smuggling and counterfeit tobacco was a thing!! Quite the educational article here. and to the tune of 11 million worth of smokes in just one truck?!?! Wow. That’s insane.

  3. This tobacco smuggling really needs to be stopped its been going on for long enough now and it’s about time a good solution is came up with which puts an end to it. The world has managed to get rid of worse things so it can be done.

  4. Although this video is filled with good information and i appreciate it I think the tobacco industry is too well regulated and although governments complain about the industry they never complain about the tax they get which is extortionate.They can put the price of cigarettes up how much and how often they want to ,it is wrong because if everybody stopped smoking tomorrow they would look for something else to replace the loss of cigarette tax and what would be able to meet the amount of tax revenue they get from tobacco?

  5. Stopping illegal tobacco is just like stopping illegal drugs and alcohol, stand in their way and people are going to be hurt. Stop their pipeline and they will just find another way. This is a battle that has gone on since the beginning of time, in one way or another, and will continue. The illegal trades just keep finding another way. It is an impossible battle.

  6. A sad truth when people make their choices from fear and ego instead of love. That’s why there are problems like this.

  7. The fact that tobacco producers and Big Tobacco is more profitable today than ever before is proof that smuggling is no harm to them.

  8. One of the most dangerous effects of smoking is the increased risk of lung cancer.. Every Year many of people die about with this issues.. If Gov hardly take care about it we think we can make a green world without Tobacco effect… That’s a really knowledge post to help people..

  9. This tobacco smuggling issue needs to be sorted. Stronger punishes should be given and enforces and the authority should take this issue seriously as it is growing fast.
    It’s a shame not much is being done.

  10. I hope This is important for people to see a positive side of Africa. somebody needs to be held accountable for that kind of illegal activity.

  11. it is wrong because if everybody stopped smoking tomorrow they would look for something else to replace the loss of cigarette tax.

  12. I have never even heard of any of this in the media before. Its crazy how dangerous these smugglers truly are. They need to put more regulations in place to get control on the smuggling. Its sad when people don’t realize how badly their hurting people by selling these dangerous products to children.

  13. Ugh it’s bad enough tobacco gives us such high rates of lung cancer, now this addictive substance is supporting illegal smuggling and crimes worldwide! Let’s get rid of this awful substance!

  14. From this article i could learn more about the tobacco smuggling in africa only the goverment can make steps to stop this smuggling activity.

  15. Unless you are a tobacco CONTROL shill you may be surprised to find, despite all the hyperbolic anti-smoker propaganda claims, that; NOT ONE person has ever been proven to have died from smoking; That despite the reduction of smokers in the developed world, lung cancers continue to increase; That far more NON smokers die of cancers than smokers (eg. 80% of new lung cancers are now diagnosed in NON smokers – ex and never smokers).

    We know that smoking tobacco significantly improves cognitive ability (scientifically shown to tune-up brain activity). You may be forgiven for wondering if the anti-smoker prohibition campaign is merely a way to ‘dumb down’ the population to ensure compliance with authority!

    In other words, don’t believe everything anti-smokers suggest, without checking for yourself.

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