From: The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

Clare Ellis
RUSI Publications, 26 January 2017

This is the second in a series of five country-level papers on the role of organised crime groups in the illicit trade of tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals across Europe, focusing on Spain as a case study.

The criminal networks behind Spain’s illicit trade are sophisticated, agile and often active in other areas of criminality. In contrast to other countries studied, there does not appear to be a decisive shift away from the established high-risk activities of organised crime (such as trafficking narcotics) towards illicit trade, which is considered comparatively low-risk both in terms of detection and potential sanctions. Instead, the flexibility of organised crime groups in Spain includes both forms of activity, with groups moving between different illicit commodities and between crime types as opportunities arise.
While Spain has long acted as a transit hub, a substantial domestic market for illicit goods has also developed. There appears to be limited infiltration of legal supply chains, with stringent regulatory systems largely preventing illicit goods from being sold through registered retailers. However, such goods remain readily available from a variety of sources, suggesting that measures have displaced rather than suppressed the sale of illicit products. Production of illicit goods within Spain is also an emerging trend, with illegal tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical factories uncovered in recent years.

From: SSRN

Alberto Aziani, Transcrime – Research Centre on Transational Crime

Jonathan Kulick, Marron Institute

Neill Norman, Cornerstone Research

James E. Prieger, Pepperdine University – School of Public Policy

From: The Courier

Fiona Henderson

People who smoke chop chop – or unbranded loose tobacco – report significantly worse health than legal smokers, according to the Cancer Council Victoria.

A report, Health Effects of Smoking Tobacco in Other Forms, uses data from the 2013 National Drug Strategy Household Survey, which shows 89 per cent of smokers use manufactured cigarettes, but chop chop is also still in use.

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The National Cancer Institute, in conjunction with the World Health Organization, has published a monograph, The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control that is available here. (16+MB) The monograph emphasizes that effective tobacco control requires that governments take steps to,

  • Reduce the (illicit) commercial availability of tobacco to youth.

Thus, interventions that effectively restrict youth access to commercial sources can also decrease the social exchange of tobacco by disrupting the supply chain and reducing the total supply of tobacco available to youth.

  • In order to reduce youth access to tobacco, governments need to—and can—cut the flow of illicit tobacco.


From: Chemistry International 3 (3) (2017)212-218

Adam Mekonnen Engida and Bhagwan SinghChandravanshi,