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HMRC internal manual

Tobacco: Anti-smuggling or the duty to avoid facilitating smuggling

Introduction: Overview of the legislation



The law places obligations on tobacco manufacturers to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that they:

  • avoid supplying tobacco products to persons who are likely to smuggle them into the UK
  • avoid supplying tobacco products where the nature or circumstances of the supply make it likely that they will be re-supplied to persons who are likely to smuggle them into the UK
  • avoid otherwise helping smuggling of tobacco products into the UK.

Any failure to comply with these obligations may render a tobacco manufacturer liable to a penalty.

The obligations imposed fall broadly into three areas. Tobacco manufacturers are required to:

  • maintain and adhere to a written policy that specifies the actions they will take to ensure that their supply chains, and where practicable the supply chains of their customers are as secure as is reasonably possible;
  • sell their products in quantities that are proportionate with the demand for their product in the destination country including legitimate cross border shopping;
  • provide to HMRC information relating to notified seizures and any specified brands or countries.