Like a lot of Spaniards, Alicia García has been obliged to make big sacrifices because of the country’s crisis. The 32-year-old cosmetician started to smoke only a pack of cigarettes per day, but now she smokes only five cigs.
“Unfortunately smoking habit has become too expensive for me. Now I should think twice before I decide to light my cigarette,” declared García.
Because of higher and excessive taxes, Spain’s 10 millions smokers become fully target to cigarettes smugglers. Unlawful tobacco imports now account for 7 percent to 8 percent of cigarette and tobacco sales, in comparison with almost zero a year ago. The number of cigarette packages sold in Spain drop to 17 percent last year, declared the Tobacco Market Commission.
“Smuggling and illegal tobacco products, which had been extirpated since 1993, came back heavily last year,” reported Jaime Gil-Robles, corporate affairs director at Altadis, which has one-third of the €11.3 billion ($14.8 billion) Spanish tobacco market. Only in one week Spanish authorities grasped more than 1 million illicit packages of cigs.
The smuggling problem is not limited to Spain only. French authorities also seized 462 tons of contraband tobacco products last year, a 33 per cent increase from 2010. Much of that load was bound in the U.K. and Ireland, which have the highest cigarettes taxes in the European Union. For example in Dublin, a package of Marlboro cigs cost €9.10, compared with €6.20 in Paris.