Tobacco smuggling: the canary in the cal mine of organised crime
In the year 2013, according to the Tobacco industry’s figures ,58.6 billion of illicit cigarettes were that means these huge majority of these cigarettes is smuggled. Only 5.8% of consumed illicit cigarettes are counterfeit, the rest is contraband (including the so called “Illicit Whites”). On top of the consumed illicit cigarettes, around 4 billion of illicit cigarettes are seized each year. The consumed illicit cigarettes make up for around 10.5% of overall consumption in the EU, which is at around 560 billion cigarettes per year. In the European Union, every year around 12.9 billion Euros of turnover with illicit cigarettes. Usually, tobacco manufacturers have high profit margins at around 40% of turnover (or higher). Hence, the European cigarette smokers (conservatively estimated) finance smugglers and counterfeiters of cigarettes with around 5 billion Euros each year.