Revenues going up in smoke

Illegal cigarette trading is growing considerably according to a survey by AC Nielsen, which showed that 13.2 percent of cigarettes consumed in April 2012 were not destined for the Greek market, up from 5.1 percent in 2009.

Given that in 2011 tobacco product taxes amounted to about 3.9 billion euros, or 8 percent of the country?s revenues, the problem of illegal trading of cigarettes has serious consequences on Greek economy. According to estimates by domestic tobacco industry Papastratos, last year?s losses for state revenues through cigarette smuggling exceeded 350 million euros.

Another survey, conducted last year by KPMG, showed that the share of adulterated or smuggled cigarettes in Greece came to 10.1 percent, nearly five times as much as in 2008, accounting for 2.7 billion cigarettes consumed from a total of 26.8 billion. So-called illicit whites, traded exclusively by smugglers, are also thriving, as KPMG has found that 45 percent of all illegal cigarettes in Greece belong to this category.

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