This year, the Romanian authorities have prevented almost 150 million smuggled cigarettes from entering the black market in Romania. The value of the seizures mounted to around RON 80 million, according to statistics available at www.stopcontrabanda.ro, a campaign by the British American Tobacco.
„If we think that those 150 million smuggled cigarettes seized this year represent around 3% of the total size of the black market, we’ll realize that we are far from finding a solution. Last year, almost 4.5 billion illegal cigarettes were consumed in Romania. Unless the authorities’ actions are enhanced and coordinated, Romania will still remain one of the most exposed countries to smuggling in Europe,” said Ileana Dumitru, PR manager within British American Tobacco, the Central and Eastern Europe division.
Therefore, the South-East region in Romania ranks first on the cigarette smuggling ranking, with 47 million counterfeit cigarettes. North-west region comes second with 29 million smuggled cigarettes, while North-East is third, with 28 million illegal cigarettes. Bucharest-Ilfov region ranks fourth with 22 million smuggled cigarettes, West region – 12 million illegal cigarettes, Center- 4 millions, South region-3.5 millions, South-West- 3 millions.
The biggest seizures have been reported in the sea ports of Constanta and Mangalia since the campaign kicked off. Tracked down by the Coast Guard, the record seizures on the Blakc Sea shore were among the largest ones in the country in the past five years. Since early this year, the state authorities have prevented around 35 million counterfeit cigarettes from entering the country through the Black Sea border.
During 2017, the region that has been the most affected by the cigarette smuggling was the North-East. Those six counties in northwestern country have reached an average level of 37% on cigarette smuggling. Here, smugglers have developed special ingenious techniques to transport the illegal merchandise over the border. On the eastern border, the cigarette smuggling is requiring even abilities of diver or fisherman to cross the Prut River. Moreover, smugglers are refurbishing second hand cars so that the cigarettes could cross unnoticed the border.