Over 4.3 billion cigarettes have been sold on the black market in Romania last year. The Romanian state has cashed in no tax for 16% of the cigarettes consumed last year, which means that RON 2.8 billion (EUR 640 million) have entered the smuggling networks.
About 150 million smuggled cigarettes have been seized and prevented from reaching the black market, according to public data available at www.stopcontrabanda.ro, the first online centralizer providing the situation of the cigarettes’ catches at national and regional level from Romania.
„For a country which borders the European Union, like Romania, the fight against smugglers must be a constant concern, for, as we proved in 2017, the authorities’ efforts only have temporary results. If in the first half of 2017, the level of smuggling had started decreasing, due to the SCUT operations of the General Customs Directorate, as soon as they stopped, the market was again flooded with smuggled cigarettes. All honest players have to lose: producers sell less, the state collect less, consumers have access to low quality products. The only ones to win are the members of the organized crime networks,” said Ileana Dumitru, Director for legal and public relations within British American Tobacco Central and Southern Europe
The website „stopcontrabanda.ro” was launched in the spring last year by British American Tobacco.
Romania is the most affected country by smuggling in CEE and one of the most affected in the EU. The level of the cigarette black market in Romania is much over the European average of 9 per cent, while the most affected region is the northeastern one. In the past eight years (2010-2017), Romania has lost around EUR 5.4 billion due to smuggling, according to a study by Novel Research.