‘Cheap whites’: The new trend dominating tobacco black markets

Tobacco smugglers have found new ways of expanding their illegal activities and now focus on a trend called “cheap whites”, which is raising new challenges for European regulators and Europol.

The illicit tobacco trade is a global issue accounting for an estimated 10.4% of the cigarette market worldwide. In addition to being a major funding source for organised crime, the cost to European tax revenues is estimated to amount to €11.3 billion a year (See background).

The European Commission is addressing the issue as part of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), and has ratified the World Health Organisation’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (FCTC).