Black market hits tobacco sales
However, the growth of the illicit trade in cigarettes was the primary reason why there were 200 million less cigarettes sold by the industry in Ireland in 2010.
That is according to tobacco firm, PJ Carroll & Co, which maintained its 14.47% market share in the industry last year.
According to the company’s accounts for 2010, total market volume in the industry declined by 4.7% from 4.5 billion cigarette sticks in 2009 to 4.3 billion cigarette sticks last year.
The company’s directors’ report states: “This decline was primarily due to the growth of illicit trade.”
The British-owned firm’s best known brands include Carrolls, Major and Rothmans and is part of the global tobacco giant, British American Tobacco.
According to the directors, the main risk and uncertainties facing the company “are the product liability cases outstanding against the company and the Irish government’s legislative programme directed at reducing the consumption of tobacco in Ireland”.
A note attached to the accounts states that PJ Carroll, as well as other leading cigarette manufacturers, have been named as defendants in a number of product liability cases with the vast majority of the claims dismissed by the courts or the plaintiffs choosing to discontinue their claims.
However, the note confirms that as of December 31 2010, there remained 15 plaintiffs in product liability cases in the courts against PJ Carroll & Co and/or its subsidiary companies, while there are 20 cases remaining against the industry as a whole in Ireland.
A spokesman for anti-smoking group, ASH said yesterday: “Irrespective of the figures on the number of cigarettes sold last year, close to 6,000 Irish people die each year from the effects of smoking and it costs the health service €1 billion each year treating patients with smoking-related illnesses. Research shows that one out of every two people who smoke die from the effects of smoking.”
The figures show that pre-tax profits at PJ Carroll & Co Ltd almost doubled last year to €9 million in spite of gross revenues dropping by 6% from €265m to €251.7m.
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