An increase in excise duties for tobacco in Albania has increased cigarette smuggling in the first nine months of 2011.
Customs data shows that Albania imported 2,262 tonnes of cigarettes in the first three quarters of 2011, a drop of 26 per cent compared with the same period in 2010.
According to Tobacco Reporter, an industry publication, in 2001, illicit cigarettes occupied about 72 per cent of the total market.
Albania has repeatedly increased excise duties in the last three years in an effort to shore up revenues for the budget, nearly doubling the price of cigarettes sold in the local market.
Historically, the share of illicit cigarettes on the market in Albania was always high, as was the case in other Balkan states such as Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. But this had declined in the past decade.
The World Health Organization reported that in 2007, that 40-50 percent of cigarettes consumed in Albania were illegal.
A study sponsored by the American Cancer Society published in August 2010, estimated that in 2009 approximately 19 per cent of smokers in urban areas and 27 per cent in rural areas suspected that some of the cigarettes that they had purchased in the last year were illegal.