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Tobacco smuggling estimates based on pack examination in Ukraine

Tatiana I Andreeva 1, 2  ,  
Alcohol and Drug Information Centre, Kiev, Ukraine
Babeș-Bolyai University, Department of Public Health, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Kiev International Institute of Sociology, Kiev, Ukraine
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2017;3(May Supplement):67
Publish date: 2017-05-25
Tobacco smuggling is a common argument tobacco industry uses to oppose tobacco tax increases. Tobacco control advocates need reliable data to counteract these statements. We present the estimated proportion of cigarettes at the Ukrainian market produced in neighboring countries.

Material and Methods:
We use results of five nationally representative surveys conducted in Ukraine in 2005-2015. During face-to-face interviews, all participating smokers were asked to present a cigarette pack. Languages of health warnings were recorded.

Packs with Ukrainian health warnings constituted 95-98%. Packs with Russian language warnings (produced in Russia or Belorussia) constituted 0.6- 4.2% of cigarettes on the Ukrainian market. Moldovan cigarettes constituted less than 1% of the market. Cigarettes from the neighboring countries could be brought as a result of trans-border smuggling or cigarette purchases by travelers within legal limits as these packs were mostly found in the border territories. In 2015, 2/3 of packs with Russian warnings were seen on the territory of Donetsk region not controlled by Ukraine.

Cigarette pack examination as a part of tobacco surveillance allows estimating the proportion of cigarettes brought from other countries, part of which could be smuggled. This information can be used for counterbalancing the industry's statements, which usually overestimate the level of cigarette smuggling.

Tatiana I Andreeva   
Alcohol and Drug Information Centre, Grigorenko ave., 7a-61, 02068 Kiev, Ukraine