In Ukraine, more expensive cigarettes: the Cabinet announced a war on smuggling

The government of Ukraine has approved the strategy to combat illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in tobacco products. For smuggling want to give criminal terms and to raise the price of cigarettes.

PROBLEM. The program will last until 2021. Among the main tasks — to reduce the number of smokers in the country and to overcome the illegal trade in cigarettes. According to the authors of the document, it’s the activity that brings in the most funds of international criminal gangs. First and foremost, the Cabinet proposes to introduce criminal liability for cigarette smuggling, illegal manufacture, and also to develop a procedure for the confiscation and destruction of equipment used in this activity. In addition, it plans to raise prices on tobacco products. However, what time frame will face the offenders and how much more expensive cigarette, it is not specified.

While in Parliament for a long time is the bill on which the cigarette smugglers threatens till 12 years of prison with confiscation of the goods, but it is not yet considered. Note that Ukraine could become a trendsetter in this matter — for example, in Poland, Germany and the UK now for the illegal traffic of cigarettes across the border face a fine.

“This is a very big problem on the border, and we have no real legal mechanism to prosecute people. We catch confiscated cigarettes, and they just pay the fine (100% of the amount withdrawn. — Ed.) — said the speaker of the state border service Oleg Slobodyan, — last year alone, we are on the border seized about 6 million packs of cigarettes.”

Responsible for the implementation of the strategy will be the Ministry of health and Gospitalnaya service. They will report annually to Cabinet: to provide information on the number of smokers in Ukraine, the number of fined for smuggling and on the volume confiscated.

BLOW TO THE POCKET. Head of sector of control over tobacco of the Ukrainian Institute for strategic studies MH Konstantin Krasovsky welcomes the plans of the Cabinet: “for Example, in 2010 Ukraine six times increased excise duties, and the number of smokers began to decline”. Now, according to the state statistics service, at the age of 12 years in the country smoke about 20% of the population, and according to the KIIS — 25%. Also in 2009, the hostages of tobacco was 36%. “We have to the European prices can grow for 10 years. For example, in Latvia was cheap cigarettes a couple of years ago, and now — for 3-5 euros (150 UAH). In New Zealand, I want to make packs for $40 so good it discourages people hunting to Smoking,” he told us.

“Strategy needs a broad debate”

According to the Manager of the Department for combating illegal trade of the company “Philip Morris Ukraine” Arthur Reznikov, initiative of the Cabinet laudable and very proper: “today, the problem of illegal trafficking of cigarettes to Ukraine is very serious – as relative to the domestic market of Ukraine and for foreign markets. Thus, only the first half of this year, the volume of illegal cigarette market in the country has increased by half. Also, according to the report of KPMG company, Ukraine – supplier of illegal cigarettes in the EU the number one (about 6.5 billion cigarettes for the year 2016). However, in this initiative there are drawbacks. In particular, it is a pity that this document does not welcome the participation of representatives of the tobacco industry in discussions on the theme of combating illegal trade. Because we have a lot of experience in this field and technology that can help government and law enforcement agencies to significantly reduce illegal trade in cigarettes”.