Indiahas become the sixth largest market for contraband cigarettes, according to an Indo-Asian News Service story quoting a Euromonitor study carried out on behalf of Assocham, a tobacco industry lobbyist.
The licit cigarette market, which stood at 109 billion in 2006-07, dropped to about 101 billion in 2010-11.
In contrast, the duty-evaded segment has grown to about 20 billion cigarettes, or about 16 per cent of the total market for cigarettes, having grown by 82 per cent between 2004 and 2011.
Euromonitor estimates that illicit cigarette volumes inIndiawill grow further, capturing more than 23 per cent of the total market by 2016.
Little wonder. In cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad, the trade in contraband cigarettes is said by the study authors to be conducted with ‘brazen openness’. A variety of smuggled brands can be found at almost every cigarette selling outlet and consumers can find their smuggled brand of choice with ease.
The contraband problem is said to be endemic toIndiabut to be especially severe in urban areas.
Contraband cigarettes are smuggled into India from China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Gulf states, and Southeast Asian and European countries.
‘Clearly, the drive to curb the entry of contraband cigarettes into India needs to be undertaken in a more stringent, sustained and organized manner,’ the study says.