Cigarette smuggling from Belarus to Lithuania almost doubled in 2018

Last year, the number of smuggled cigarettes to Lithuania increased by 45%. Such figures can be found in the report of the Lithuanian Border Guard Service.

In 2018, at the border, Lithuanian special services detained 1 million 768 thousand packs of cigarettes, writes ABW.BY. According to the border guards’ report, the majority of the seized cigarettes were of Belarusian production. Popular brands include Fest, Minsk and Korona. There was also found a small amount of cigarettes from Ukraine and Tajikistan.

The use of modern border surveillance systems have led to a change in smuggling routes. Only 47% of contraband passed in 2018 through the so-called “green” border: that is, across fields, forests and water bodies. In 2017, this figure was 74%.

The main cause of tobacco smuggling to Lithuania, as well as to other Western countries, is a big difference in prices. For example, in Belarus a pack of cigarettes costs about 0.74 euros, while in Lithuania the cost of a pack of popular cigarettes is about 4-5 times higher. Other reasons are the limited purchasing power of the Lithuanian population, tolerance to smuggling, the growth of the profitability of an illegal business, the unemployment rate, and the favorable geographical position of Lithuania for such a business, reports.