Philip Morris International (SME) is calling on European lawmakers to consider the millions of adult smokers turning to the illegal market instead of switching to smokeless tech alternatives. The Kpmg study on illicit cigarette consumption conducted in 2021, commissioned by Pmi, shows that overall consumption of illicit cigarettes increased by about 3.9% – or +1.3 billion cigarettes – last year, reaching 35.5 billion illicit cigarettes consumed in the Member States of the European Union (EU). The study also reveals that total cigarette consumption in the EU decreased over the same period. According to the report, the rise in illicit consumption in the EU was largely driven by a roughly 33% increase in counterfeit cigarette consumption in France, which reached 8 billion cigarettes last year. Overall, France remains the largest market for illicit cigarette consumption in the EU, with a total of 15.1 billion illicit cigarettes consumed in 2021, accounting for 29% of the country’s total cigarette consumption, representing growth. significant compared to 13% in 2017. “The results of the new Kpmg report – commented Gregoire Verdeaux, senior vice president, SME external relations – should be a wake-up call. It is worrying that in countries with a high level of taxes on tobacco products, such as France, the result has been an increase in illicit consumption and a marginal decrease in adult smokers of traditional cigarettes. The EU countries that have adopted differentiated policies for alternatives to traditional cigarettes are registering encouraging results, favoring the continuous decline in the number of those who consume traditional combustion cigarettes and at the same time reducing the illicit market ”. Kpmg’s annual report focuses on the consumption and flows of illicit cigarettes in 30 European countries – 27 EU member states, as well as the United Kingdom, Norway and Switzerland – and shows that if these cigarettes were bought legally, the governments of the ‘The EU would have collected 10.4 billion euros in additional taxes. The report also shows that about half – 16 out of 27 – of the Member States record a decline or stability in the consumption of illicit cigarettes in 2021. ‘Italy records a consumption of 1.4 billion illicit cigarettes equal to 2.2% in 2021 showing, as evidence of the effective contrast and deterrence action carried out by the police and the Customs and Monopoly Agency, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points compared to 2020. At the national level, the loss of revenue related to the offense was 272 million euros (-36% compared to 2020, equal to a recovery of revenue of about 100 million euros on a annua), thanks to the commitment of the Institutes we are convinced that consumers should be encouraged not to resort to illicit cigarettes. Ensuring the availability and knowledge of smokeless alternatives for those millions of adult smokers who do not quit should be our common priority in Europe, ”Verdeaux added.
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