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British American Tobacco Romania launches campaign against cigarette smuggling

British American Tobacco Romania is releasing the on-line map of the cigarette seizures in Romania at www.stopcontrabanda.ro, in an unprecedented campaign fighting the cigarette smuggling. The negative effects of the illicit cigarette trafficking are also displayed on the boards fixed in 80 of the most crowded locations in Bucharest.

According to a press release, the tobacco producer says that the illicit cigarette trade is affecting all Romanian regions and is the highest, on volume, out in the total of smuggling goods in the country.

According to BAT, the illicit cigarette trade has caused a prejudice of RON 3 billion (around EUR 650 M) last year and reached the highest average annual level since 2011. „Those RON 3 bln that the Romanian state didn’t cash in 2016 could have been used to build 111km of highways or to buy 12 F16s,” the cigarette producer argued.

The illicit cigarette trade must fall off. Every sixth cigarette smoked in Romania comes from smuggling, which means low returns to the state budget. We want to support the Romanian authorities to reach the goal of bringing the black market to the European average of 10 pc,” said Ileana Dumitru, public relations manager BAT Romania.

British American Tobacco has signed a committment on European level to support the EU’s fight with the illicit cigarette trade by USD 200 M during 2010-2030. The company’s contribution mounts to USD 47 M so far.

According to the statistics provided by BAT, Romania is second most affected country by the cigarette smuggling in the Eastern Europe, after Poland.

At the same time, our country has 2,000-km borders with non-EU states, where the tobacco price can be six times lower than in Romania.

The Romanian state budget has losses of around EUR 50 M every month due to the cigarette black market. In the past seven years (2010-2016), the Romanian state has lost EUR 4.8 billion, while the black market increased by 27% during 2011-2016.

Every illegal cigarette container means EUR 1 M profit for smuggling neworks. Interpol data show that the illegal cigarette trade is a catalyst for drug, weapon and person trafficking, and even for terrorism,” the BAT release concludes.

About Alina Grigoras