Contraband Cigarettes Cost Greece up to €1 Billion per Year

From: Greek Reporter

By Philip Chrysopoulos


It’s easy to find contraband cigarettes and tobacco in Athens. In markets, flea markets and the Exarchia neighborhood you can find any “brand” you like at one euro a pack. Almost four times less than you can buy a legal pack at a kiosk. Even those who are hit the hardest by the crisis can afford to satisfy their craving with one euro.

According to Euromonitor figures, illicit cigarettes penetration reached 21% of all cigarettes consumed in Greece in 2014 amounting to over 229 million non-duty paid packs smoked. Based on an average pack price of 3.80 euros in 2014 and an average tax burden per pack of 85% of TIRSP (inclusive of specific excise at 82.50 euros per 1,000 sticks and rates of ad valorem and VAT of 20% and 18.7% respectively) the Greek state lost about 740 million euros in tax on this illicit consumption. Up from 2013 when the State lost 565 million in taxes. It is estimated that by 2019, the loss would be one billion euros.

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