Tobacco illicit trade, a phenomenon that threatens public health, national economy and urges the cooperation of all relevant parties on the fight against it.
Illicit trade is one of the most threatening economic problems worldwide. Some research indicates that over 456 billion cigarettes a year are illegal, with illicit cigarette trade now estimated to account for 11.2% of the global tobacco market.
Cigarettes are among the most commonly traded products on the black market due to high profit margins, relative ease of production and movement and low detection rates and penalties.
The illegal market of tobacco products does not consist a threat only for tobacco companies but also governments that miss out on revenues, legitimate retailers lose income and consumers get unregulated products for the benefit of smugglers and organized crime.
Illicit trade of tobacco products has dramatically increased in Greece and it is likely to increase more if the necessary measures are not taken. Within the last years, illicit trade in our country has experienced a dramatic increase in extremely high levels today (cigarettes and loose tobacco). Recent studies show that more than 2 out of 10 cigarettes consumed in Greece are illicit.
We fully support regulators, governments and international organisations such as the World Customs Organization, the World Trade Organization, World Health Organization and European Union in seeking to eliminate all forms of illicit tobacco trade. We would like to see all our markets free of it.
We see it as vitally important that governments establish workable tax regimes and economic policies that do not create conditions that encourage illicit trade, with strong border controls and effective laws to fight the black market.