Romanian authorities in charge of fighting against cigarettes’ smuggling managed, over the last three months to stop over 40 million illegal cigarettes to get into the black market, and over 300 persons were detained, since the release of the campaign called “Stop Smuggling,” according to a release of the British American Tobacco.
The value of confiscated goods stands at approximately 30 million lei.
“Approximately 445,000 smuggled cigarettes were stopped of getting each day on the black market of Romania. This may translate the impact of 40 million cigarettes catches made by authorities just in the spring of 2017. To these figures is also added a number of almost 300 persons detained, suspected of carrying out different smuggling activities,” the release reads.
The increase of the Romanian authorities’ actions is reflected in the decline of 1 percentage point of Romania’s black market since the beginning of the year, according to the most recent study carried out by the Novel research company (15.2 percent in March 2017 compared to 16.2 percent recorded in January 2016).
The company mentions that Romania is one of the most affected counties in terms of cigarette smuggling in the European Union, the second in Eastern Europe after Poland. Romania has 2,000 kilometers of border with non-EU states, where the price of tobacco can be four times lower than in Romania.
The illegal cigarette smuggling annually damages the Romanian state with over 650 million euros (approximately 3 billion lei). For each percentage added to the illegal tobacco market, the state budget annually loses another 40 million euros. Over the last 7 years (2010-2016) the Romanian state lost 4.7 billion euros (approximately 21.6 billion lei). The black market increased by 27 percent between 2011 and 2016. Each container of illegal cigarettes means 1 million euros profit for smuggling networks. Interpol data reveal that cigarette smuggling is a catalyzer for trafficking drugs, weapons and persons and even terrorist activities.