Cigarette smugglers have sold over 4.15 billion cigarettes in Romania last year, meaning almost 10 percent of the volumes dealt in the European Union, Switzerland and Norway. Large volumes of smuggled cigarettes have reached only on the markets in Germany, Poland, UK and France, which have populations two up to five times more than in Romania.
The statistics rank Romania as the fifth in Europe, a place occupied by Italy in 2016, according to a study of the illicit cigarette market in the European Union, Norway and Switzerland conducted by KPMG and commissioned by the British think-tank RUSI (Royal United Services Institute).
Altogether, the first five states which top the smuggled cigarettes ranking, among which there is also R0mania, represent roughly two thirds (62%) of the black market in the EU, Norway and Switzerland, meaning two times more than in all the 25 reviewed countries altogether.
„In 2017, the average smuggling in the European Union, Switzerland and Norway stood at 8.7%, meaning half of the level recorded in Romania on the same year. Our country is attractive to the smugglers due to its 2,000 km of border with the non-EU states where cigarettes cost a third of the selling price in Romania. That’s why the authorities’ resolution is absolutely needed to allot all necessary resources to fight against the organized criminal groups,” said Ileana Dumitru, head of the Legal and Public Relations Department at British American Tobacco Romania.
On the other hand, Counterfeit and Contraband, including Illicit Whites (C&C) consumption fell in Poland, Germany, Romania, Italy, Greece and Austria. C&C in the UK was identified from Poland, Romania and countries that bordered the Eastern EU such as Belarus and Ukraine.
However, Romania has the most expensive legal cigarettes in Eastern Europe, after Hungary (EUR 3.61), with an average price of EUR 3.31.
Over 50% of the illegal market in Romania is represented by the two ”illicit whites” cigarette brands: Marble & Ashima.