Illicit Cigarette Market Retreats in Poland

    Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

    Illegal products accounted for 6.3 percent of all cigarettes sold in Poland during the first quarter of 2021, down from 9.4 percent in 2020, reports the Warsaw Business Journal, citing a study by the Almares Market Research and Consulting Institute.

    The share of illegal trade in cigarettes in the Polish tobacco market has been gradually decreasing since 2015 when it exceeded 18.3 percent. Each percentage of the market recovered for the legal sale of cigarettes equates to an estimated PLN250 million ($65.63 million) in additional revenues for the government. The Almares Institute report shows that the market share of counterfeit tobacco products has also decreased from 1.3 percent in 2020 to 0.7 percent in the first quarter of this year.

    “In the first half of 2021, we seized nearly 169 million cigarettes and 410 tons of tobacco while liquidating 10 illegal cigarette factories,” Iwona Jurkiewicz, chief inspector of Poland’s Central Bureau of Investigation, was quoted a saying.

    The market for legal tobacco products is estimated at 60 billion pieces of cigarettes and e-cigarettes.

    Poland has performed comparatively well recently in the fight against the illegal cigarette trade. In the Schengen countries, the average share of illegal products in 2020 was 7.8 percent, 0.5 percent higher than the year before.

    A KPMG report shows that in 2020, the illegal market accounted for 23.1 percent of the market in France, 22.4 percent in Greece and 20.2 percent in Lithuania.