The Romanian state hasn’t received any taxes for 16% of the cigarettes sold in Romania last year, which translates into lost revenues of about EUR 640 million. The money went to cigarette smuggling networks, according to British American Tobacco, one of the biggest cigarette producers in Romania.
Over 4.3 billion cigarettes were sold on the black market in Romania last year. The Romanian authorities seized about 150 million cigarettes from smugglers. The local authorities’ operations managed to reduce smuggling in the first part of 2017 but once these operations stopped, the illegal activities boomed again, according to BAT.
The level of the black market in Romania is much higher than the EU average, which stands at about 9%. In the last eight years (2010-2017), Romania lost about EUR 5.4 billion due to cigarette smuggling.