Methodology: Estimating Illicit Flows of Cigarettes and the Impact of Enabling Factors

Cecilia Meneghini*, Marco Dugato

*Corresponding author

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


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 seventh chapter of the ITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond Report. It describes the approach applied to estimate the illicit flows of cigarettes and to identify and analyse their enabling factors. The approach comprises three phases: 1. Estimating the volume of the illicit markets of cigarettes in the 57 countries included in the analysis; 2. Mapping the network of transnational illicit flows of cigarettes; 3. Identifying the impact of contextual factors on illicit flows of cigarettes. Each section of the booklet focuses on one of the phases. Information is provided on how the quantitative data and qualitative information are exploited in each phase.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITTP NEXUS in Europe and Beyond
EditorsAlberto Aziani, Marco Dugato
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cigarette trafficking
  • Enabling factors
  • Illicit flows
  • Illicit goods
  • Smuggling
  • Transnational crime


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