Securing the tobacco supply chain: A case study in Poland
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Department of Public Health and Social Medicine, Medical University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
American Cancer Society, Atlanta, United States
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A85
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The threat of tobacco tax evasion and avoidance is the most commonly mentioned argument against tax hikes. Increasingly, the focus of legislators is on leaks in the tobacco crop supply chain, in which raw or cured tobacco that was never taxed finds its way to smokers who roll their cigarettes, or perhaps worse, is being sold for the purposes of manufacturing illicit cigarettes. Few guidelines for those policymakers exist. This report offers a detailed description of the process undertaken by Poland to secure the tobacco supply chain.

To study the process undertaken by Poland to secure the tobacco supply chain, we analyzed the 2013–2018 legislation on tobacco supply, and interviewed stakeholders in the Government of Poland.

Farmers and intermediary entities can trade tobacco only if registered with the government. Farmers are required to report the size of the field and the weight of their crops to the state authorities. Each purchase within the supply chain is also reported by both the seller and the buyer for cross-validation. Evidence suggests that this cross-validation of records has prevented manipulation within the system, while the mere threat of hefty fines related to an excise tax law violation and/or the administrative burden associated with becoming an excise taxpayer (had the violation been prosecuted), significantly secured the leaks in the tobacco supply chain, especially at its early parts.

The experience of Poland demonstrates that securing the tobacco supply chain is complicated but also tractable. We believe that this case is widely applicable to other countries.

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