Illicit trade of tobacco products is a phenomenon that threatens public health, national economies and urges the cooperation of all relevant parties on the fight against it.
Illicit trade is one of the most threatening economic problems worldwide. Some research indicates that up to 600 billion cigarettes a year are illegal, which represents approximately 12% of global consumption.
Cigarettes are among the most commonly traded products on the black market due to high profit margins, relative ease of production and movement and relatively low detection rates and penalties.
The illegal market of tobacco products does not only constitute a threat for tobacco companies but also for governments that miss out on tax revenues, legitimate retailers that lose income and consumers who are confronted with unregulated products, only at the benefit of criminals.
Tobacco is one of the most extensively smuggled legal substances in the world, funding an underworld of organized crime.