Financial Crisis in Greece Continues to Drive Consumers to Illegal Tobacco Products

With a steady increase of taxes on cigarettes, the state has fallen short of cashing in as the market share of illegal tobacco products has doubled over the past six years going from 10.1 percent in 2011 to 20 percent in 2016.

The latest tax increase that started on January 1, 2017 is driving even more consumers to illegal markets — a figure that is expected to grow by 25 percent this year.

Illegal tobacco products in Greece now account for over 33 percent of tobacco purchases according to reports.

“The sector is in despair as almost four out of 10 cigarettes are illegal and the industry’s turnover has shrunk by more than 10 percent,” said Constantinos Iakovou, head of the Association of Tobacconists and Kiosk Leaseholders of Macedonia, as reported by Kathimerini.