Greece remains the biggest market in the European Union for contraband cigarettes, according to a pan-European report made public last week following the discovery by Greek authorities of three illegal tobacco processing factories in May and June.
In 2019, more than 3 billion contraband cigarettes are believed to have been smoked in Greece, accounting for 22 percent of tobacco consumption, the largest rate in the European Union.
A recent report by KPMG for Philip Morris showed a total of 38.9 billion contraband cigarettes were consumed across Europe in 2019.
Most were bootleg versions of popular brands as well as others packaged legally in third countries but then smuggled across Europe without a license (known as illicit whites).
Some 1.51 billion bootleg cigarettes were consumed last year in Greece and another 1.66 billion illicit whites.