About 580 billion cigarettes a year are traceable to the illicit market.
The tobacco industry offers covert and overt support to the illicit trade. It supplies products, and also seeks to block implementation of tobacco control measures.
The lower prices of illicit tobacco makes products more affordable for young people and lower-income groups.
The tobacco trade reduces governments income by about US$ 31 billion a year. Two-thirds of that is lost to low- and middle-income countries.
Reduced tax income from the sale of tobacco products impedes good governance by reducing funds available for social and economic development.
The WHO FCTC Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products has been signed by eight countries – Austria, Congo, Gabon, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Spain, Turkmenistan and Uruguay
Tobacco smuggling has been linked to criminal groups and financing organized crime, including armed insurgent groups in the Middle East, Africa and other parts of the world.
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