Consumption of illegal cigarettes is on the decline in Europe, despite the fact that their manufacture within the European Union is on the rise, indicates a report prepared by KPMG, commissioned by Philip Morris Products SA.

According to the Stop Illegal website, the report analyzes the scale and development of the illicit cigarette market in the 27 member states of the European Union, plus the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland during 2019.

Data shows that 38.9 billion illicit cigarettes were consumed in the EU in 2019, which is 7.9% of total cigarette consumption in the EU, but compares favorably with 2018, where 4.7 billion more units were consumed.

The report highlights that much of the decrease in the consumption of illicit cigarettes was due to the decrease in smuggling from territories such as Ukraine and Belarus.

The success of customs efforts have led criminal organizations to move manufacturing within the EU. The KPMG report notes that these new factories have been key in driving the consumption of white and counterfeit cigarettes within the EU. In 2019, for the first time since the study began in 2006, those cigarettes account for more than 50% of total illicit cigarette consumption.

According to Stop Illegal, “more intelligence suggests that organized crime groups are building multiple factories to mitigate the risk that police raids will completely shut down their operations.”

“Officials also note that the machinery seized during the raids is becoming increasingly technological and operations are more professional, with manufacturers producing illicit cigarettes at scale for organizations and smugglers who can transport and distribute large volumes,” explains the page. specialized. “This has encouraged the formation of new criminal groups specializing in the smuggling of raw and fine-cut tobacco and non-tobacco materials, such as filters, papers and packaging, that operate separately from cigarette smugglers and smugglers. traditionally manufactured illicitly”.

Source: Stop Illegal

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