Stop Contrabanda Campaign: About 116 million smuggled cigarettes seized by authorities in 2021

01 February 2022

  • About 116 million smuggled cigarettes were seized by authorities in 2021

  • Their total value on the black market is over 68 million lei

  • BAT aims to build A Better Tomorrow™, for all entities involved

Bucharest, February 1st, 2022 – In 2021, on grounds of extensive efforts to stop illegal activities at the country borders, the Romanian authorities seized about 116 million contraband cigarettes, up almost 5 million as compared to 2020. The market value of contraband cigarettes seized by the Romanian authorities last year amounted to over 68 million lei, according to data centralized on

The black market cigarettes in Romania decreased in 2021 to 8.7%, compared to 9.4% in 2020, according to the latest Novel Research study. At the same time, in November 2021 it reached even 7.4% of the total consumption, this being the lowest level recorded in the last 15 years.

"We are happy that the authorities` efforts to surveill the country borders and the places where smuggled cigarettes are sold are registering results. A low level of illicit trafficking and a predictable fiscal framework for all categories of nicotine products are essential conditions for a favorable context for investments and thus, for the increase of contributions to the state budget. Due to decrease of the black cigarette market, in the first 9 months of last year BAT paid the state budget almost 1 billion lei more than in the same period of 2020 and we want to maintain this growth rate", stated Ileana Dumitru, Legal and External Affairs Director, Central Europe South Area within BAT.

According to the KPMG Project Sun 2021 report, Romania ranks sixth among EU member states and first in Eastern Europe in terms of cigarette smuggling. BAT continues to support the authorities in their efforts to combat tobacco smuggling: along with other projects, in 2021, 250 mobile surveillance cameras with motion sensors such as hunting cameras were donated to the Romanian Border Police and installed in locations identified based on risk analyses at the external border of the European Union.

Real time data on the evolution of cigarette seizures in Romania can be viewed on platform, a BAT initiative that aims to support the authorities by centralizing the seizures throughout the country, but also to inform consumers on the negative impact of cigarette smuggling on society. The campaign is developed in partnership with the Romanian Police, the Romanian Border Police, the National Agency for Fiscal Administration (ANAF) and the General Customs Directorate.

The "Stop Contrabanda" campaign was launched in the spring of 2017 by BAT to create a unique information point on cigarette smuggling activity.

About cigarettes smuggling in Romania

  • Romania has the highest level of cigarette smuggling in Eastern Europe.

  • Romania has 2,000 km of border with non-EU countries, where the price of tobacco can be up to six times lower.

  • Illegal cigarette trafficking annually prejudices the Romanian state by approximately 2 billion lei.

  • Each container of illegal cigarettes equals one million euros profit for smuggling networks. Interpol data show that illicit cigarette trafficking is a catalyst for trafficking in drugs, weapons, people and even terrorist activities.

About BAT in Romania

  • BAT became the largest taxpayer in Romania in 2020, after paying about 9.6 billion lei to the state budget.

  • BAT is the leader of the tobacco market in Romania, with over 50% share.

  • BAT has over 3,000 employees and creates another 30,000 jobs through its distribution and supply chain.

  • In December 2017, BAT launched in Romania the glo device, the most innovative product of the company which heats - not burns - tobacco.

About BAT globally

BAT is a leading, multi-category consumer goods business with a purpose to build A Better Tomorrow™ by reducing the health impact of its business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for adult consumers. The company continues to be clear that combustible cigarettes pose serious health risks, and the only way to avoid these risks is not to start or to quit. BAT encourages those who would otherwise continue to smoke to switch completely to scientifically substantiated, reduced-risk alternatives*. In order to deliver this, BAT is transforming into a truly consumer-centric multi-category consumer products business. BAT employs over 55,000 people and operates in over 180 countries, with 11 million points of sale and 45 factories in 43 markets. The company’s Strategic Portfolio is made up of its global cigarette brands and a growing range of reduced risk* New Category tobacco and nicotine products and traditional non-combustible tobacco products. These include vapour, tobacco heating products, modern oral products including tobacco-free nicotine pouches, as well as traditional oral products such as snus and moist snuff. In 2020, BAT had 13.5 million consumers of our non-combustible products, a rise of 3 million on the year before. The BAT Group generated revenue of £25.8 billion in 2020 and profit from operations of £9.9 billion.

* Based on the weight of evidence and assuming a complete switch from cigarette smoking. These products are not risk free and are addictive.




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