The illegal cigarette market has grown five times in one year

The illegal cigarette market has grown five times in one year

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The share of counterfeiting in the tobacco market increased from 1.1 to 4.9%


Photo: Getty Images/Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

In 2017 the volume of black market tobacco have increased five times. Last year it accounted for 1.1% of the total consumption, and now she is almost 5%. According to market participants, illegal cigarettes are mostly imported from Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In 2017, the market of illegal tobacco has increased significantly: from 1.1% in the first quarter of 2016 to 4.9% in the same period this year. This is evidenced by preliminary data of the independent research “TNS Russia” on the informal sector of tobacco, which is held annually. According to 2017, the growth of the illegal market was due to two of the four possible channels of the inflow of smuggled and counterfeit products.

So has increased considerably, the article produced outside Russia illegal cigarettes — they accounted for 2.7% against 0.2% last year. We are talking about the packs that don’t contain labels warning about the dangers to health in the Russian language — the fields outlined in black frames and the words “Smoking kills”. These so-called “Nagamasa” cigarettes made in the countries of the Eurasian economic Union (but not for sale in Russia), and outside the EEU, and is also not intended to be implemented in Russia.

Increased the flow of illegal cigarettes with Russian marking on the injury, but without excise stamps. The packaging of these cigarettes was without stamps or the stamps were suspicious, noted in the results of the study. The share of this channel increased from 0.6% in 2016 to 1.9% in 2017. Share of illegal cigarettes made by the four tobacco majors market, remained unchanged at 0.2% in 2016 and 0.3% in 2017.

Note, research “TNS Russia” made by order of major tobacco companies operating in the country. In “BATH Russia”, Philip Morris International, Imperial tobacco has not provided comments.

According to Rosstat, in 2016 was made 335,7 billion pieces of cigarettes. It turns out that 4.9 per cent will amount to 16.4 billion pieces.

The tobacco market analyst Vadim Zhelnin doubt that the shadow of the tobacco market in Russia can be significant. According to him, illegal volume just nowhere to appear.

— From all countries of the EAEU illegal cigarettes come to us from Kazakhstan and Belarus, from other countries products take seriously, he said, adding that “conveying cigarettes from China is economically unprofitable”.

According to analysts, production of Kazakhstan and Belarus is not able to provide the volume more than 16 billion cigarettes. For example, the production in Belarus is estimated at 30 billion pieces of cigarettes.

The Committee on statistics of the Ministry of national economy of Kazakhstan and the national statistics Committee at the request of “Izvestia” is not answered.

Expert on anti-illicit trade of tobacco products Alex the head does not exclude such increase of the shadow market. He stressed that consumers of counterfeit and contraband are the people with low income, choosing packs cost 30-40 rubles. In the country decreased purchasing power, and this segment of consumers this became particularly evident, so they could actively consume illegal cigarettes, said the expert.

Recall the tobacco industry in the near future is waiting for more regulation — the government intends to control the production and sales of products. This will happen either with USAIS, which already works in the alcohol market, either through the introduction of “traceability system” radio-frequency tags, operating on the market of fur products. Tobacco companies insist on the latter, stressing that the Russian was designed for a specific problem in the country — a significant volume of illegal alcohol on the market.

The main factor in the increasing illegal trade in Russia — mismatch excise policy between the two countries given the massive growth in excise tax rates in Russia, this creates an economic incentive for the influx of tobacco products from neighbouring countries, emphasized the Vice-President of JTI, corporate Affairs and communications Russia Sergey Kiselev at the meeting in the Federation Council on March 23. USAIS not suitable to deal with this problem, he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Khloponin thinks otherwise — he offers to extend USAIS on the tobacco market, which increases drop out of the budget from unpaid tobacco excise taxes from illegal cigarette. In the February letter to the President, he argued that for 2012-2016, the loss amounted to 105 billion rubles. Vice Prime Minister also stressed that to implement USAIS will be easy: cigarettes, like alcohol, are marked with excise stamps, and of the 350 thousand who sells tobacco outlets 220 thousand already connected to the system yegais.