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August 17, 2022

Stop Contrabanda platform: More than 41 million smuggled cigarettes were seized by the authorities in the first 6 months of 2022

  • In the first six months of 2022, Romanian authorities confiscated over 41 million smuggled cigarettes
  • Their total value on the black market is over 26 million lei
  • BAT aims to build A Better Tomorrow™, which means supporting the efforts of the authorities to combat illicit trafficking activities

In the first six months of 2022, Romanian authorities seized over 41 million cigarettes, estimated at over 26 million lei (over 5 million euros) on the black market, according to data from www.stopcontrabanda.ro, the only real-time platform centralizing data on cigarettes illicit traffic in Romania.

The cigarettes black market in Romania registered a decrease of approximately 30% compared to the first half of 2021, amid the authorities` efforts to combat illicit trafficking and the smuggling volume decrease at the Northern borders of the country. According to StopContrabanda.ro, in the first 6 months of 2021, over 61 million smuggled cigarettes were seized, about a third more than the volume recorded in the first half of this year. The cigarettes’ black-market remains at a historical level of below 8% in the first half of this year, a relatively constant level from the beginning of the year, according to Novel Research.

In 2021, on grounds of cigarettes’ black-market contraction, BAT paid to the state budget about 1.25 billion lei more than the previous year, reaching almost 11 billion lei in contributions through excise duties and taxes. In our 25 years of presence in Romania, although we see certain periods in which the smuggling volume decreases, we also witness a continuous adaptation of the black market, which manages to identify new methods to illegally introduce illicit products in the country. Ongoing efforts are needed to maintain a low level of illicit trafficking which, together with a balanced and predictable fiscal framework for all categories of nicotine products, are the main conditions for increasing legitimate private investment and, implicitly, the state budget revenues,” says Ileana Dumitru, Legal and External Affairs Director, Central Europe South Area in BAT.


Significant seizures at the Southern and Eastern borders of the country

In the first six months of 2022, the largest volume of seized smuggled cigarettes was recorded in three counties: Constanța (over 15 million cigarettes), Vâlcea (over 11 million cigarettes) and Suceava (almost 3 million cigarettes), according to the data centralized on www.stopcontrabanda.ro.*

Recently, in June 2022, this year`s three largest seizures of cigarettes were conducted in Constanța, Vâlcea and Călărași, where the authorities captured a total of almost 28 million cigarettes, worth over 18 million lei (over 3.6 million euros). In Constanța alone, more than 15 million smuggled cigarettes were recently seized, worth over 11 million lei (2.2 million euros).**


Two illegal factories and record seizures worth 2 million euros, discovered this year

In the first six months of 2022, the authorities also discovered two illegal cigarette factories, in Neamț and Buzău counties, where approximately 21 tons of tobacco were confiscated. The resulting cigarettes manufactured out of the seized tobacco would have been worth over 2 million euros on the black market, according to data centralized on StopContrabanda.ro.***

Also, according to the authorities, an increase in the amount of raw tobacco and shisha tobacco illegally introduced on the Romanian market has been registered in the first half of the year. According to ANAF, since the beginning of 2022, over 50 tons of raw tobacco without the necessary documents for transport, processing or marketing have been confiscated. **** Also, 1,750,000 excise stamps were illegally introduced in Romania at the beginning of the year, which were to be used to mark illicit tobacco products. *****

Real time data on the evolution of cigarette seizures in Romania can be viewed on www.stopcontrabanda.ro platform, a BAT initiative that aims to support the authorities by centralizing the seizures throughout the country, but also to inform consumers on the negative impact  of cigarette smuggling on society. The campaign is developed in partnership with the Romanian Police, the Romanian Border Police, the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) and the Romanian Customs Authority.

The “Stop Contrabanda” campaign was launched in 2017 by BAT as a unique information point on cigarette smuggling evolution and risks.


About cigarette smuggling in Romania


  • Romania has the highest level of cigarette smuggling in Eastern Europe.
  • Romania has 2,000 km of border with non-EU countries, where the price of tobacco can be up to six times lower.
  • Illegal cigarette trafficking annually prejudices the Romanian state by approximately 2 billion lei, which is the equivalent of 667 km of modernized national roads.******
  • Each container of illegal cigarettes equals one million euros profit for smuggling networks. Interpol data show that illicit cigarette trafficking is a catalyst for trafficking in drugs, weapons, people and even terrorist activities.


 About BAT in Romania


  • This year, BAT marks 25 years of presence in Romania. BAT’s direct, indirect and induced contribution to the Romanian economy exceeds 125 billion euros, of which 24 billion euros represent direct contribution to the state budget, in the form of taxes, excises, salaries and other local taxes (according to Civitta impact study 2021).
  • In 2021, BAT was Romania`s largest taxpayer, for the second consecutive year. The company paid almost 11 billion lei to the state budget last year.
  • BAT is the leader of the tobacco market in Romania, with a market share of over 50%
  • BAT has over 3,000 employees and creates another 30,000 jobs through the distribution and supply chain
  • In December 2017, BAT launched in Romania the glo device, the most innovative product of the company which heats – not burns – tobacco.


*The counties with the highest volume of smuggled cigarettes captured in the first 6 months of 2022: Constanța (15,584,140 cigarettes), Vâlcea (11,200,000 cigarettes), Suceava (2,955,840 cigarettes); source: www.stopcontrabanda.ro

**Top 3 seizures of contraband cigarettes, in June 2022: Constanța – 760,000 packs of contraband cigarettes, without fiscal stamp; Vâlcea – 11,200,000 cigarettes; Calarasi – 1,400,000 cigarettes

***Illegal cigarette factory, discovered in Neamț (20 tons of tobacco); Illegal cigarette factory, discovered by Buzău police (1 ton of tobacco).

****10.26 tons of tobacco confiscated by ANAF-Antifraud inspectors

*****1,750,000 excise stamps for cigarettes, likely to be counterfeit, discovered at P.T.F. Calafat

******At an average cost of 3 million lei for one km of modernized national road (according to the latest projects announced by CNAIR).

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