Of late, there have been many instances of seizures of contraband cigarettes reported in Reading. These shopkeepers have been selling cigarettes purchased from European countries. After purchasing, these items find a way to the UK with paying the necessary taxes associated with imports. In the end, the shopkeepers pocket a higher sum as profit when they sell these items at local prices.
I do not sympathize with these shopkeepers. They are charging their hapless customers the same rate and are not passing the cost benefits to the customers. Smoking is a costly business. I know for sure because I was a smoker until recently. I found cigarettes to be more expensive in Belgium than France. I also cigarettes to be costlier in the UK than France. In both France and the UK, the government charges the smokers more and also scare them away with nasty pictures on the cigarette packs.
In India, cigarettes are sold either as packets or as single units. The flexibility of buying a cigarette versus as a packet is two-fold. You smoke less. You spend less. When you have a pack in your pocket, you need less activation energy to smoke. Why don't the shopkeepers adopt the same modes of sale in Europe and UK? Wouldn't this approach not only reduce smoking but also provide more profit for the shopkeeper? The more profit means less contraband into the country.Tags: Musings, Cigarettes, Contraband