Cigarette Trafficking: Introducing the Transnational Dimension of Cigarette Trafficking in Europe and Beyond

Alberto Aziani, Marco Dugato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Cigarette trafficking is a global and complex crime. In the EU MSs, 40 billion illicit cigarettes are consumed originating from 128 countries spread across five continents. Most of these cigarettes originate from non-EU countries where cigarette prices are low, and there are weaknesses in the law enforcement, control, and regulatory systems. Like cigarette trafficking itself, research on the topic must extend beyond national and regional borders. This transnational dimension calls for an analysis that considers the interaction between multiple countries to reveal, understand, and monitor cigarette trafficking in the EU. In particular, it should account for a wider context including the non-EU countries that are involved in the production, transit and consumption of illicit cigarettes. Only the combination of local and macro-regional perspectives enables the identification of the main factors behind the transnational illicit flows of cigarettes and the designing of effective policies to curb them. In light of these considerations, ITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond includes an analysis of the illicit flows of cigarettes moving through EU countries, by also examining the role of and the connections with relevant countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. The project identifies and quantifies these flows and highlights the existing connections within political, legislative and socio-economic frameworks. Through this process, ITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond provides an assessment of the enabling factors behind transnational cigarette trafficking. This booklet constitutes the first chapter of the ITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond Report. It introduces an overview of the transnational trafficking of cigarettes across Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa. Section 1 describes the two principal forms of cigarette trafficking: i) the one occurring between neighbouring countries and/or within the same macro region, and ii) the one occurring between non-neighbouring countries belonging to different macro regions. At the same time, it introduces the explanatory factors— countries’ characteristics and asymmetries—that give origin to the transnational traffic of cigarettes. Section 2 focuses on the different origins of the illicit cigarettes smoked in the countries included in the analysis and in particular in the EU. Section 3 presents the transnational trafficking network of illicit cigarettes. It provides an overview on the numerous paths along which illicit cigarettes move from their countries of origin to their final destinations. Section 4 introduces the main trafficking routes linking the markets in the EU to the main trafficking hubs in North-Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, and it shows how traffic concentrates along specific paths.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond
EditorsAlberto Aziani, Marco Dugato
Pages21-56
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Illicit cigarettes
  • Illicit whites
  • Organized crime
  • Smuggling
  • Trafficking routes
  • Transnational crime

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