Illegal cigarette business takes off in Mexico

Author: EFE News Services

The illegal cigarette business is growing rapidly and now accounts for about 10 percent of the total tobacco market in Mexico, gaining eight percentage points in the past year, the Alliance Against Illegal Products, or ACPI, said.

“More than 100 illegal brands appeared on the market against the 30 detected in 2010,” ACPI spokesman Gerardo Velazquez said.

The number of packs of illegal cigarettes sold last year rose to “40 million, against the 200 million estimated by the end of 2011,” Velazquez said.

“Overregulation” has had negative effects on the tobacco market in Mexico, which has between 10 million and 11 million smokers, the ACPI spokesman said.

The organization criticized the effects of the Special Tax on Production and Services, or IEPS, which was approved a year ago and raised the price of a pack of cigarettes by 7 pesos ($0.52).

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