Cigarette smuggling reached 24.4 pc of the market in September, after a decline to 21.3 pc in June and July, Marian Marcu, managing partner with Novel Research company announced Thursday in a press conference, quoted by Mediafax. He explained the sudden jump in September through the salary cuts operated in the public system and the VAT increase in July. The main sources of this illicit trade are the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and Serbia, which jointly account for 77 pc of the total volume of smuggled cigarettes. Attending the conference, JTI CEO Neil Coupland said the cigarette manufacturer allotted hundreds of thousands of EUR to the campaign against contraband, plus other hundreds of thousands to strengthening the control activity at customs checkpoints, and to training courses. He added that the sales of his company were affected by contraband. From some 25 pc of the market and approximately 8 million cigarettes sold in 2008, JTI will drop somewhere near 5 million cigarettes and a similar market share this year. Because of the sales decline, the cigarette producer had to lay off 120 employees, in a restructuring process that ended in October this year.