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Euractiv organises policy events (hybrid, virtual, in-person) in Brussels and other European capitals.

Euractiv Events

Changing trends in smuggling: "Illicit whites", a concern for EU security and revenues


Changing trends in smuggling: "Illicit whites", a concern for EU security and revenues

The illicit tobacco trade is a global issue with a major impact on the EU, accounting for an estimated 10.4% of the cigarette market worldwide. In addition to being a major funding source for organised crime, the cost on European tax revenues is substantial, estimated to be €11.3 billion a year. Traditionally the illicit tobacco trade has been dominated by counterfeiting, but “illicit whites” are an emerging trend. These cigarettes may be legally produced but are then smuggled and traded illegally. Tackling this problem requires innovative solutions that address a problem largely originating beyond EU borders.

The European Commission is addressing the issue as part of the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD), while also ratifying the World Health Organisation’s Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products (FCTC). But there is no single solution and a response requires debate and knowledge sharing.

Questions included:
- How can EU legislation effectively address the issue of “illicit whites”?
- How can the EU ensure compliant and transparent business practices apply to “illicit whites” producers inside and outside the EU?
- How can tracking and tracing solutions foreseen by TPD and FCTC Protocol be more effective in fighting illicit trade?
- How can Europe be a leader in tackling what is a truly international issue?

Read the article ‘Cheap whites’: The new trend dominating tobacco black markets

Supported by:


Renaissance Hotel
Rue du Parnasse 19, 1050 Brussels

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Dana Meager, State Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Government of the Slovak Republic
Ingeborg Grässle MEP, Chair of CONT Committee, European Parliament
Carlo van Heuckelom, Business Manager, Economic Crime Unit, Europol
Alvise Giustiniani, Vice President Illicit Trade Strategy & Prevention, Philip Morris International


8.30 – 9.00 Registration and networking breakfast
9.00 – 9.30 Input statements
9.30 – 10.30 Open debate and conclusion