More and more Danish smokers are turning to smuggled smokes to get their tobacco fix.
Of the 6 billion cigarettes smoked last year, 150 million – about 2.5 percent – of them were illegal. That number showed a significant increase from the 1.8 percent smoked in 2014.
“There is a lot of money in smuggling, because cigarettes are a highly taxed product at home,” Preben Buchholtz, the vice president of SKAT’s customs department, told DR Nyheder.
“That means large profits for traffickers, and unfortunately, it means that the treasury is missing out on a lot of tax revenue.”
Lost taxes and smouldering rat poop
The Danish treasury lost about 245 million kroner to the illegal trade last year, according to a report from the accounting firm KPMG, which examines the EU tobacco market every year.
The report also noted that more knock-offs masquerading as well-known cigarettes – some 30 million – were sold in Denmark last year.
“Along with giving money to criminals, we have found asbestos, rat faeces and plastic in the knock-off cigarettes we have analysed,” said Thomas Jepsen, the communications head at cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris .