Greece remained in second place among the 27 EU member states in 2021, according 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 to 35.5 billion cigarettes (1.3 billion more illicit cigarettes compared to 2020), with France recording a significant increase in illicit cigarette consumption and maintaining the first place.
More specifically, according to the KPMG Report:
Overall, in 2021 the EU Member States lost 10.4 billion euros in revenue due to the illicit trade in cigarettes.
– The percentage of illegal cigarettes in the EU amounted to 8.1% of total cigarette consumption.
-The illegal market in the EU strengthened mainly by counterfeit cigarettes, whose consumption increased by 19% in 2021, reaching 12.3 billion cigarettes.
– 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.
-In 2021, the illicit purchase of cigarettes in France represented 29.4% of the total consumption of cigarettes in the country – the corresponding percentage 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.
According to the findings of the Report on the illicit trade in cigarettes in Greece:
– A total of 3.4 billion illegal cigarettes were consumed in 2021.
-The percentage of illegal cigarettes amounted to 23.9% of total consumption.
-Lost revenues for public funds 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 more worrying is that conditions prevail – all over Europe – that can make the situation uncontrollable. “Intense inflationary pressures, rising cost of living and the consequent decline in purchasing power, are cultivating the ground for further increase in demand for 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, and together with the State and society, through the common front we have created, end of cigarettes, not just legal products “.
On the occasion of the new Report, Gregoire Verdeaux, Senior Vice President of Foreign Affairs at Philip Morris International, said: “Losses in tax revenue will limit the ability of governments 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 illicit trade is now very high. even more urgent is the need 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. consumers, so that they do not have to turn to illegal cigarettes, which means focusing on education, 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.”