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Report: Black market tobacco trade on increase in Hungary

While naturally no official statistics exist on the black-market tobacco trade in Hungary, a report from Agence France-Presse claims that “several smugglers” have informed that “business has been brisk ever since … nearly 90% of licensed tobacco sellers were shut down” this year in the National Tobacco Shop scheme.

Non-profit organization Igazgyöngy Alapítvány director Nóra Ritók was quoted as explaining that “there are many smaller villages where you won’t find an [official] cigarette shop … That’s why the black market is developing.”

Official statistics show that some 85 million black-market cigarettes were seized by authorities through the first 10 months of 2013, a steep rise from the 68 million rounded up last year – this despite the fact that National Economy Minister Mihály Varga stated in November that his ministry had seen “no significant changes on the black market for cigarettes” since the state monopoly was implemented.

Varga assured at that time that new tax laws passed by Parliament will more greatly impede black-market sales.