Illicit tobacco sales trends in the European Region in 2009-2016
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Alcohol and Drug Information Center (ADIC-Ukraine)
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A92
Aim: Tobacco companies claim that high taxes increase cigarette smuggling. European countries have high tobacco taxes and many of them increased tax rates recently. The aim of this paper is to estimate the trends of illicit tobacco consumption in the European Region in 2009-2016.

Trends in illicit tobacco trade in the European countries were estimated using reports produced by the governmental bodies and those (with caution) commissioned by the tobacco industry.

In the UK, the Revenue and Customs reported that estimated volume of the illicit cigarette and hand-rolling tobacco market decreased by 36% in 2009-2016. In Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners estimated that the volume of illegal cigarettes decreased by 51% in 2009-2016. In Norway, as the KPMG report estimated, the illicit cigarette consumption decreased by 48% in 2014-2016. All three European countries with the highest tobacco taxes experienced a decline in illicit sales. According to the KPMG estimates, volumes of contraband and counterfeit cigarettes in the EU decreased in 2009-2016 from 61 billion to 48 billion cigarettes. Cigarette contraband to the EU countries from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova combined declined from 21.6 billion to 12.8 billion cigarettes in 2009-2016. The Euromonitor reported that volumes of illicit cigarette trade in 2010-2015 fell by 25% in Eastern Europe and by 4% in Western Europe.

Total illicit cigarette turnover decreased in the European Region. Volumes of illicit tobacco trade declined in most countries with high tobacco taxes owing to the reduction of the smuggled cigarettes inflow, and in most countries with low (but increasing) tobacco taxes owing to the reduction of the smuggled cigarettes outflow. Most illicit cigarettes in the European countries are those cigarettes which are produced and taxed in another European country.

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