730-Million-Euro Losses by Illegal Tobacco Trade

cigarettesThe Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) noted on Thursday that any efforts to raise taxes on tobacco products in Greece will only lead to further losses in public revenue as the illegal tobacco trade will extend.

According to data presented by IOBE, illegal tobacco trade will cost the Greek state as much as 730 million euros by the end of 2014. It also estimated that there will be a shortfall of at least 148 million euros in 2014 state budget from legal tobacco sales.

IOBE figures show that tobacco sales in Greece have decreased in the 2009-2013 period by 36% in terms of volume and 52% in value. Illegal trade in bootleg cigarettes and loose-leaf tobacco has increased from 5% of total tobacco sales in 2009 to 22% in 2014 due to the 10% rise of the special consumption tax levied through tobacco products over the same period.

Representatives of British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco, who represent 50% of the Greek market, pointed out that they are not planning to exit the Greek market despite the drop in sales.