A top cop has told media he has "significant" concerns that some of the proceeds of the booming illicit tobacco smuggling trade into Australia are flowing to extremist groups overseas. 'Illicit' covers both smuggled and counterfeit product, but for Australia the main danger is the former, and it gets worse as the cost of a pack of smokes goes up. Australia's smokes are the most expensive in the world, and its problem with smuggling is also huge. Yet the Department of Health still refuses to allow smokers to legally switch to the much safer vaping. Personal vaporisers too will be smuggled once New Zealand approves their use, adding to the nightmares for ABF's tiny specialised unit trying to stem the illicit flood. The cop told TV the illicit industry is "probably a billion-dollar trade". In fact he was underestimating: the estimated excise tax loss from illicit consumption (in 2014, the latest year available) was a staggering AUD 1.55 billion – 13.7 percent of the Commonwealth's potential total Excise Tax revenues. The year-on-year rise was also eye-watering. As Canberra waged war against smokers – while failing to offer them access to far less harmful alternatives – with another 12.5 percent rise in excise duty, the loss from smuggled ciggies rose by almost 17 percent! By prolonging demand for the far more dangerous 'old technology' of combustible cigarettes and refusing to accept that vaping is a better alternative, Department of Health is effectively helping to fund terrorism, as well as helping to kill its citizens. Time to switch? for the detailed numbers, go to: Asia-16 Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2014 (International Tax and Investment Center and Oxford Economics). The Australia numbers are at page 46.