Tobacco sales drop linked to spike in illegal trade

Tobacco sales drop linked to spike in illegal trade

A bid by the government to crack down on the illegal trade of loose-leaf tobacco and contraband cigarettes has highlighted that while tobacco sales have dropped by 46 percent from 2009 to 2014, actual consumption has remained more or less stable, despite the imposition of anti-smoking regulations.

The decrease in sales is being attributed to the sharp spike in the illegal tobacco trade, with some estimates putting one in three cigarettes being smoked in Athens as coming from illegal sources.

Two factors are seen as key, according to experts, to the seven-fold increase of illegal tobacco use from 2009 to 2014, leading of which is a succession of tax hikes.

The bill putting tougher restrictions on tobacco is expected to be presented to Parliament by the end of the month.

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