Despite potential risks of pesticides, arsenic, rat poison and higher levels of tar and nicotine, 30% of smokers are willing to smoke illegal cigarettes.
That's according to a new poll conducted by Ireland Thinks, who were examining trends amongst Irish smokers.
Statistics suggested that 17% of the cigarettes smoked last year were illegal – over 31.7 million illegal packs.
The estimated loss of Revenue for The Exchequer was €384 million.
On The Pat Kenny Show, The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association of Ireland (CSNA) CEO Vincent Jennings said "nothing is surprising" within the results.
"Forget about it being tobacco and think about what it is doing in terms of funding illegal operations," he said.
"People who are engaged in this activity are also engaged in human trafficking, in gun smuggling, and in the importation of illegal drugs.
"This is not a Bonnie and Clyde operation."
Track and Trace
Mr Jennings said since 2002, CSNA has "been bringing to the attention of Revenue and the authorities of the danger of this."
"What began in a small fashion in a couple of streets off Moore Street has now become that it is in every town and village in Ireland," he said.
"Every cigarette that is manufactured in the European Union now has a full track and trace all the way down to the individual pack.
"So, none of these products are actually emanating from European factories or Europe.
"This is extraordinarily complex and detailed."
Mr Jennings said a lot of the illegal cigarettes come from places such as Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Venezuela.
"The extraordinary thing is that this leapfrogs across incredibly large populations such as Germany and France and comes to little old Ireland," he said.
"The sole reason for that is that the pickings are incredible.
"A packet of cigarettes is €15.50 or €16, and so it's €6, €7 or €8, but that is still substantial profits for these people."
Mr Jennings said individuals involved in the illegal trade are grouped into three sections: triads, homegrown and paramilitaries.
"Because it is considered to be less problematic on a social basis than the likes of heroin and there isn't the same level of social opprobrium that goes with it, they're perfectly happy to involve themselves in this," he said.
"They go outside the country, make their deals and then organise the importation of it."
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