Northern Ireland is hub for illicit cigarette consumption
According to a new survey funded by tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, Newtownabbey and the city of Lisburn have one of the highest cases of illicit tobacco consumption in the UK.
Newtownabbey came first in the poll which stated that 66% of cigarettes bought or consumed in the area were illicit last year.
Lisburn City came second in the poll which covered the fourth quarter of 2011 with 43.3% of cigarettes smoked there originating from an illicit, tax-evading source.
Illicit cigarettes include products brought into the country that avoid tax charges and counterfeit products.
According to the analysis, the illicit tobacco trade is on the rise, having increased from 10% to 15% in just three months last year.
In a move to combat illegal tobacco products, the Government is proposing plain packaging for all tobacco products and today announced a tobacco display ban in England.