From: Fair Observer
To make matters worse, the distribution of contraband cigarettes is on the rise. Illicit tobacco products now make up more than 10% of total consumption, a figure that is drastically higher in some regions, such as the Balkans. These undercover smokes substantially exacerbate the problem of toxic ingredients seeping into the water table, as they often contain far higher levels of noxious chemicals, such as cadmium or arsenic. They also aggravate tobacco’s harmful effects on health. The tax revenue lost through illicit trade — the European Union, for example, bleeds more than €10 billion each year — undermines public health initiatives, while the smuggled cigarettes’ low prices keep smokers hooked. The tobacco industry is well aware of how the illicit tobacco trade continues to fuel their business, hence why — despite paying lip service to the fight against cigarette smuggling — the tobacco titans have consistently been involved in the illegal practice themselves.