The latest IPSOS research results show that South Africa is the first country in the world to have an illegal cigarette brand as the top seller of tobacco.

The study has also found that trade in illegal cigarettes has increased dramatically in the country despite the efforts of South African Revenue Services (SARS) to crackdown on this illicit business.

The Tobacco Market Study was conducted between June and October this year.

Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa chairperson Francois van der Merwe says, “South Africa is the first country in the world to allow an illicit cigarette brand to become the biggest in the market. We’ve allowed this and if this doesn’t stop immediately and other industries and other sectors and other criminal activities follow suit, where will this country go? How can the legal industry compete? The legal industry which I represent pay taxes, you simply cannot compete with companies selling cigarettes at R10 a packet.”