This study provides a methodology with which to estimate the volumes and revenues of the illicit cigarette market at the subnational level. It applies the methodology to Italy for a 4-year period (2009–2012), enabling assessment of the prevalence of the illicit trade across years and regions. Notwithstanding the alleged importance of mafias, the results provide a more complex picture of the Italian illicit tobacco market. The maximum total revenues from the illicit trade in tobacco products (ITTP) increased from €0.5 bn in 2009 to€1.2 bn in 2012. The prevalence of illicit cigarettes varies significantly across regions, because of the proximity to countries with cheaper cigarettes and the possible occurrence of other crime opportunities. Understanding of these factors is crucial for the development of appropriate policies against the ITTP. The methodology may be applicable to all other EU countries, providing detailed, yearly estimates of the illicit market at the subnational level.
- illicit cigarettes