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HMRC internal manual

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

Contact with tobacco manufacturers: Recording your contact with a tobacco manufacturer



It is important therefore that all members of HMRC who have contact with tobacco manufacturers and discuss issues that may have a bearing on their duty to avoid facilitating smuggling make a formal record covering what was discussed and what was agreed.

Examples of relevant issues are:

  • tobacco smuggling in general;
  • a policy for avoiding facilitating smuggling;
  • assurance activities;
  • interpretation of law; or
  • seizures of their products.

If appropriate, any member of HMRC receiving information from or about a tobacco manufacturer should report the fact to the National Humint Centre using the prescribed form.

Written records of all meetings with the tobacco manufacturers are produced and shared by LB. An internal debrief of all meetings is conducted by the LB team to evaluate any areas of concern and next steps including the consideration of an initial notice. 

On an annual basis, LB will conduct a review and evaluation of each tobacco manufacturer’s adherence to the legislation as set out in section 7B (2) TPDA.  The review is intended to inform the consideration of the issuing of an initial warning notice and covers:

  • the content of the manufacturer’s policy under section 7A(2)(b)
  • compliance with that policy
  • action taken pursuant to any notice under section 7A(4) [greater risk from products and markets]
  • compliance by the manufacturer with any notice under section7A(5) [provision of information about supply and demand for specified products]
  • the number, size and nature of seizures of which the manufacturer has been given notice by virtue of section 7a(7)(a) [notifiable seizure]
  • compliance by the manufacturer with any requirement by virtue of section 7A(7)(d) [information about notified seizures]
  • evidence about the level of demand for the manufacturer’s products for the consumption outside the UK
  • any other matter that HMRC think relevant


A decision to issue an initial notice based on the annual review or seek further evidence on a specific area of risk will be made by the Tobacco Anti-smuggling Compliance Manager in conjunction with the LB Tobacco Sector Lead.

The timing of any duty to avoid facilitating smuggling event to be undertaken with full awareness of any Initial Notice Period already in place. Any assurance event planned or undertaken in the Initial Notice Period should have the approval of The Tobacco Anti-smuggling Compliance Manager.