The data speaks for itself: Concerning growth of the illicit market in the European Union

26 JUL 2023

A new study from KPMG, spanning the European Union, U.K., Norway, Switzerland, Moldova, and Ukraine, reveals the illicit cigarette market in Europe continued to grow in 2022.

Notably, France emerges as the epicenter, accounting for the vast majority of counterfeit cigarettes consumed in Europe.

2022 KPMG Report Illicit Cigarette Consumption


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Leveraging innovation for the better

The continued growth of the illicit cigarette market in Europe remains a critical threat to the industry’s transformation and society’s smoke-free future.

The problem has now become concentrated in a few countries where innovative approaches to discourage smoking are lacking and smokers are turning to illicit sources. So, amid economic hardships and troubling inflation, it is crucial to prioritize robust law enforcement, comprehensive regulations, and forward-looking policies.

To address this challenge effectively, it is necessary to adopt the novel approaches that can support the continued decline of cigarette consumption while also reducing illicit trade. The enforcement of sensible and predictable fiscal calendars, stringent penalties against criminals and efficient law-enforcement actions is a much-needed starting point.

At the same time, in our efforts to deter cigarette consumption as a whole, we recognize that millions of adult smokers who don’t quit—and that are currently relying on the black market to continue smoking—would benefit if they are given access to, and information about, better, smoke-free alternatives.

In doing so, we would be both advancing the reduction of smoking prevalence, while enabling millions who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch to a better alternative and stop smoking.