Illicit tobacco

Illicit tobacco

Serious and organised crime (SOC) groups are more attracted to the Australian illicit tobacco market than ever before. They are entrenched in the trade through its domestic cultivation, manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale.

As the cost of legal tobacco products continues to rise through frequent increases in excise, SOC groups are taking advantage of the opportunity to make more illicit profits. Organised criminals view the illicit tobacco trade as low-risk and high-reward.

Our agency has produced substantive intelligence assessments previously on SOC involvement in the illicit tobacco market.

We are part of the Australian Border Force (ABF) led Illicit Tobacco Taskforce (ITTF) established in 2018 to protect Commonwealth revenue by proactively targeting, disrupting and dismantling serious actors and organised crime syndicates that deal in illicit tobacco.

The task force has a full array of legislative powers to effectively investigate, prosecute and dismantle international organised crime groups that deal in illicit tobacco.

Our intelligence activities focus on:

  • domestic manufacturing capabilities
  • illicit tobacco importation, distribution and associated money laundering
  • identification of source countries, capabilities and involvement of serious and organised crime groups.

The development and implementation of Australia’s National Tobacco Strategy provides an opportunity to build on Australia’s historic successes in tobacco control, and strengthen collaboration between the Commonwealth, states, territories and non-government organisations.