Illicit cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco in 18 European countries: a cross-sectional survey

L. Joossens, A. Lugo, C. La Vecchia, A. B. Gilmore, L. Clancy, S. Gallus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: Little evidence, other than that commissioned by the tobacco industry, exists on the size of the illicit tobacco trade. This study addresses this gap by examining the level and nature of illicit cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco in 18 European countries.

Design: Face-to-face cross-sectional survey on smoking.

Setting: 18 European countries.

Participants: For each country, around 1000 subjects representative of the population aged 15 and over were enrolled. Current cigarette smokers were asked to show their latest purchased pack of cigarettes or hand-rolled tobacco.

Main outcome measure: A comprehensive measure called an Identification of an Illicit Pack (IIP) was used to study the extent of illicit trade, defining a pack as illicit if it had at least one of the following tax evasion indicators: (1) it was bought from illicit sources, as reported by smokers, (2) it had an inappropriate tax stamp, (3) it had an inappropriate health warning or (4) its price was substantially below the known price in their market.

Results: Overall, the proportion of illicit packs was 6.5%. The highest prevalence of IIP was observed in Latvia (37.8%). Illicit packs were more frequent among less educated smokers and among those living in a country which shared a land or sea border with Ukraine, Russia, Moldova or Belarus. No significant association was found with price of cigarettes.

Conclusions: This study indicates that IIP is less than 7% in Europe and suggests that the supply of illicit tobacco, rather than its price, is a key factor contributing to tax evasion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTobacco Control
VolumeOnlne First
Early online date10 Dec 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2012

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Tobacco Products
nicotine
Tobacco
Taxes
Hand
Cross-Sectional Studies
tax evasion
Moldova
Latvia
Republic of Belarus
Tobacco Industry
Ukraine
Russia
Oceans and Seas
taxes
Smoking
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
smoking
supply
Health

Keywords

  • illicit cigarettes

Cite this

Illicit cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco in 18 European countries: a cross-sectional survey. / Joossens, L.; Lugo, A.; La Vecchia, C.; Gilmore, A. B.; Clancy, L.; Gallus, S.

In: Tobacco Control, Vol. Onlne First, 10.12.2012.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Joossens, L. ; Lugo, A. ; La Vecchia, C. ; Gilmore, A. B. ; Clancy, L. ; Gallus, S. / Illicit cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco in 18 European countries: a cross-sectional survey. In: Tobacco Control. 2012 ; Vol. Onlne First.
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abstract = "Objective: Little evidence, other than that commissioned by the tobacco industry, exists on the size of the illicit tobacco trade. This study addresses this gap by examining the level and nature of illicit cigarettes and hand-rolled tobacco in 18 European countries.Design: Face-to-face cross-sectional survey on smoking.Setting: 18 European countries.Participants: For each country, around 1000 subjects representative of the population aged 15 and over were enrolled. Current cigarette smokers were asked to show their latest purchased pack of cigarettes or hand-rolled tobacco.Main outcome measure: A comprehensive measure called an Identification of an Illicit Pack (IIP) was used to study the extent of illicit trade, defining a pack as illicit if it had at least one of the following tax evasion indicators: (1) it was bought from illicit sources, as reported by smokers, (2) it had an inappropriate tax stamp, (3) it had an inappropriate health warning or (4) its price was substantially below the known price in their market.Results: Overall, the proportion of illicit packs was 6.5{\%}. The highest prevalence of IIP was observed in Latvia (37.8{\%}). Illicit packs were more frequent among less educated smokers and among those living in a country which shared a land or sea border with Ukraine, Russia, Moldova or Belarus. No significant association was found with price of cigarettes.Conclusions: This study indicates that IIP is less than 7{\%} in Europe and suggests that the supply of illicit tobacco, rather than its price, is a key factor contributing to tax evasion.",
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