A research conducted by Euromonitor International Limited has revealed that illicit cigarette trade accounts for 39 per cent of total cigarette volume sales in 2018, up from 35 per cent share in 2017.
A total of 425 retailors were approached for the study, 384 (90 per cent) consented to collect packs and the total number of the illicit cigarette packs collected were 4461 while single sticks were sold by all retailors.
The 2023 Cancer Research UK (CRUK)-funded project was presented by Dr Arti Singh of the School of Public Health – Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tobacco Industry Interference organised by the Vision for Alternative Development – Ghana (VALD-Ghana).
The percentage of cigarette brands sold in Ghana were; Kingsize 40.9, London Brown/White 20.8, Pall Mall White 11.1, Business Royal 6.7, Fine 5.2, 555 4.3, others 3.4, Oris brand 2.9, Rothmans Royals 2.6, and gold seal 2.1.
The study stated that majority of the illicit packs originate from Togo – 47 per cent followed by Nigeria-14 per cent, adding that; “Packs meant for sale in Ghana constitutes about seven per cent of the illicit packs collected.”
It indicated that one in five cigarette packs collected were illicit and that the odds of illicit cigarette sales were 3.5 folds higher in provision stores as compared to drinking bars while the sale was 67.2 folds higher in border towns as compared to non-border towns.
“The middle and coastal country zones had lower odds of illicit cigarettes sales than the northern zones.
The survey recommended the implementation of illicit tobacco national work plan or task force, development of efficient track-and-trace system, which is aligned with the protocol, and technical capacity building for law enforcement officers.
The overall aim of the project was to strengthen tobacco control by creating the supportive environment necessary for the implementation of the illicit tobacco protocol (ITP) in Ghana.
The objectives were to engage with national tobacco control stakeholders to identify key challenges and opportunities to the implementation of the ITP and create and strengthen institutional and domestic capacity via trainings and workshops.
Others were to establish a track-and-trace system, and to apply findings from the illicit tobacco study under the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme to inform the implementation of the ITP.
Ghana ratified the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products on October 22, 2021.