Cigarette Smuggling: A Case Study of a Smuggling Network in Greece

Georgios Antonopoulos

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    The aim of this article is to describe a cigarette smuggling network in Greece. The smuggling of cigarettes has been the focus of a number of journalistic and academic accounts and official reports throughout the world, and has been intertwined with other criminal activities, terrorism, health, minority ethnic groups, and finance. It is estimated that smuggled cigarettes account for 6-8.5% of the total cigarette consumption. According to EUROPOL, countries with high taxation on cigarettes are vulnerable to cigarette smuggling. However, cigarette smuggling may be more prevalent in countries in which cigarettes are cheaper. Greece is a source, transit and destination country for smuggled cigarettes, as well as a country with relatively cheap cigarettes. Greece is the top smoking country worldwide in terms of per capita cigarette consumption as well as a country with a relatively large population of smokers that reaches 40% of the population. It is suggested that there is a tolerant environment to cigarette smuggling in Greece that, in contrast to other contexts and commodities’ trades refers to both the general climate to the particular trade and law enforcement. The aim of the study is broken down into four objectives: 1. to provide an account of the structure of the particular network, 2. to provide a description of the ‘actors’ involved in the particular network, 3. to provide an account of the ways the particular network obtains and stores smuggled cigarettes, and finally 4. to provide an account of the introduction of smuggled cigarettes into the market and their distribution by the particular network. This paper is the product of a series of interviews with three retired Kurdish cigarette smugglers.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)239-255
    JournalEuropean Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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