EU: Greece hits “first” in the consumption of illegal cigarettes

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In second placebetween the 27 EU Member Statesremained the 2021 the Hellasaccording to the results of KPMG ‘s annual independent report conducted on behalf of Philip Morris International.

At EU level, illicit cigarette consumption increased by 3.9% in 2021, reaching 35.5 billion cigarettes (1.3 billion more illicit cigarettes compared to 2020), with France recording a significant increase in illicit cigarette consumption and maintain first place.

According to the KPMG report in total, in 2021 EU Member States lost € 10.4 billion due to the illicit trade in cigarettes. The share of illicit cigarettes in the EU was 8.1% of total cigarette consumption. The illegal market in the EU was strengthened mainly by counterfeit cigarettes, whose consumption increased by 19% in 2021, reaching 12.3 billion cigarettes.

It is noted that the increase in the market for illicit cigarettes in Europe is due in large part to the 33% increase in the consumption of counterfeit cigarettes in France. According to the report, in 2021, the illicit purchase of cigarettes in France accounted for 29.4% of total cigarette consumption in the country – the corresponding figure in 2017 in France reached 13%.

In Greece, despite significant successes against organized illegal networks by law enforcement authorities and significant government initiatives, the illicit cigarette trade remains a scourge, affecting public health, public safety and the economy. country.

The report shows that, in relation to the illicit trade in cigarettes in Greece, a total of 3.4 billion illicit cigarettes were consumed in 2021. The share of illicit cigarettes amounted to 23.9% of total consumption, while lost revenue to public coffers in 2021 reach 604 million euros.

“The phenomenon of the illicit trade in cigarettes is not new. It has been threatening public revenues for years, but also society itself. What is most worrying is that conditions prevail – all over Europe – today that can make the situation out of control. “The intense inflationary pressures, the increase of the cost of living and the consequent decrease of the purchasing power, are cultivating the ground for further increase of the demand of the illegal cigarettes”, noted Mr. Iakovos Kargarotos, Vice President of Papastratos, adding that “for more than 10 years Papastratos is at the forefront of the fight against illicit trade, supporting the competent authorities with state-of-the-art equipment and know-how. Together with the State and the society, through the common front that we have created, we will continue the effort so that our goal for the end of the cigarette, does not concern only the legal products “.

On the occasion of the new Report, Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President of Foreign Affairs at Philip Morris International, said: “Tax revenue losses will limit governments’ ability to invest in areas such as public safety, public services or infrastructure. , at a time when European citizens are facing very high prices on almost all basic goods. The risk of adult smokers – especially those in the lower classes – turning to the illicit trade is now very high. This makes it even more urgent to make new innovative tobacco products available and affordable – where they are not – so that adult smokers can make better choices instead of buying cigarettes from the illicit market. We are convinced that consumers need to be motivated so that they do not have to turn to illegal cigarettes. This means focusing on educating, raising awareness and ensuring the availability of better alternatives, such as scientifically proven innovative tobacco products. “Making them accessible as the best choice for the millions of adult smokers in Europe who do not quit smoking should be our common priority.”

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