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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Tuesday, 15.10.2019, 22:11

Latvia has the largest share of illegal cigarettes on the market in EU

BC, Vilnius, 09.11.2018.Print version
Smuggled cigarettes currently account for 16.5% of Lithuania's tobacco market, according to the latest empty pack survey by Nielsen.This is down from 19.6% last year, reported LETA/BNS.

The Lithuanian Customs Criminal Service notes in a press release that many neighboring countries also show a downward trend in illegal tobacco product consumption, with the market share at 12.3% in Poland and 12.8% in Estonia. 

In Latvia, however, the black market for cigarettes currently amounts to 22.8%, the largest share in the EU, up from 21.1% in the middle of this year, based on an empty pack survey. 

The Customs Criminal Service says it launched 280 pre-trial investigations regarding smuggling or unlawful possession of goods subject to excise duties in January through September 2018. 

Some 80 mln units, or 4 mln packs, of contraband cigarettes and 93 tons of illegal tobacco were seized during the nine months, with their total cost put at almost 15 ml euros. 

44% of the cigarettes were seized on the border with Belarus, 17 % on the border with Russia and 1% on the border with Latvia.  

Another 38% of smuggled cigarettes were nabbed within Lithuania, with all of the busted illegal tobacco warehouses located in areas close to the border with Poland. 

45% of all seized cigarettes had Belarusian excise stamps on them and the remaining 46% had no excise stamps, the service said. 

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