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Number of cigarettes cleared for sale in Hungary falls sharply

The number of cigarettes cleared for sale in Hungary fell 24% to 7.6 billion in January-September from the same period a year earlier, business daily Napi Gazdaság said on Wednesday, citing data from the Tax and Customs Authority.

National Economy Minister Mihály Varga said in an interview published in daily Magyar Nemzet on Tuesday that official data showed no significant changes on the black market for cigarettes since a state monopoly on retail tobacco sales was introduced in July.

In the interview, Varga also assured that the most recent round of tax laws passed by Parliament will more greatly impeded black-market tobacco sales.

Measures included in the bill call for reportage of non-cigarette items such as rolling tobacco and a new regulation allowing rolling papers and rolling machines to be sold only in National Tobacco Shop outlets.