Here’s something to consider next time you see someone furtively sucking on a cigarette in one of the few public spots smoking is still allowed: every cigarette smoked in this country contributes just over R1 to the fiscus.

Or, at least, it would if every cigarette were purchased legitimately. This, it turns out, is unlikely. South Africa boasts a world-beating level of illicit tobacco trading: depending on who you trust, it is either 54% or 70%, and it costs the fiscus between R12bn and R19bn a year...

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