Tackling Cigarette Smuggling with Enforcement: Case Studies Reviewing the Experience in Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom (2012)

Authors: János Nagy


This paper provides an overview of the approaches taken to address cigarette smuggling and focuses on the experiences of Hungary, Romania and the United Kingdom to reduce illicit trade in tobacco products. The author identifies the significance of highly taxed tobacco products as contributors to government revenue and the efforts made to stabilise that market. The impact of campaigns to highlight health considerations, coupled with legislation to enable customs authorities and police departments to enforce the law can help to reduce the illegal trade in tobacco products. However, if national governments raise sharply, in a short period of time, the excise duty on, for example, cigarettes, illegal activities may rise. An important lesson learned is that the tobacco industry, if consulted by governments, can contribute to the success of law enforcement and reinforced controls by sharing critical information with customs and excise authorities and cooperating more closely with government agencies.

Read more: World Customs Journal