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Illegal cigarette trade falls in Hungary

Contraband cigarettes accounted for 13% of total trade in July compared to 22% in September 2005, the Customs and Excise Office (VPOP) said on Monday.

An official clampdown on smuggling has resulted in the confiscation of 856,000 cartons of contraband cigarettes so far this year, VPOP head József Bencze said.
Stricter inspections have pushed up the black market price of a pack to about Ft 330 from Ft 150, Bencze said.


In spite of the fall in market share of illegal cigarettes, which was reported by tobacco companies, Bencze warned that untaxed cigarettes and cheap imitations still pose a problem. As a result of the fall in black market cigarette sales, sales of legal, brand cigarettes have risen 5%-8% from a year earlier, according to János Sánta of the Hungarian Tobacco Manufacturers Association.