Promising his “absolute determination to fight relentlessly against trafficking” of tobacco, before the congress of the Confederation of tobacconists, Mr. Attal indicated that this plan, which will be “finalized by the end of the year”, would strengthen the means of Customs to enable them to intercept more products sold illicitly via social networks and postal shipments.
Customs services will be equipped with “nine new next-generation mobile scanners”, the number of which will be increased to “20 by the end of 2025”, as well as “two industrial scanners to improve checks on postal parcels and express freight “, he said in front of the 600 tobacconists, gathered Thursday and Friday for their annual congress.
In addition, “groups to fight tobacco trafficking in large cities” will be deployed, inspired by the one set up in Lyon, which “will attack criminal organizations and carry out punching operations”, specified the minister.
And the “cyber-Customs unit will be decentralized, extended to local investigation services” to better track illicit online sales, because “from now on local traffic also goes through social networks and goes under the radar”, according to Mr. Attal .
In 2020-2022, “1,046 tonnes of tobacco were seized, i.e. 49 cases per day, and at the end of August 2022, 464 tonnes of tobacco had been intercepted by Customs, compared to 402 for the whole of 2021 (…) If this trend continues, the increase in seizures could reach 73% in 2022”, reported the minister, seeing in it “a loss for the State and Social Security of 2.5 to 3 billion euros per year. , for 500 million of unrecovered VAT”.
These figures reflect “a very strong involvement of Customs” but also the fact that “traffic continues to increase” which should push the government to fight it “more effectively”, judged the minister to loud applause, also promising a “reinforcement of criminal sanctions” on which “a reflection is in progress” with the Minister of Justice.
Finally, a forthcoming circular will mobilize the prefects on the fight against illicit tobacco sales, said Mr. Attal.