Illegal Cigarette trade comprising international smuggled and locally manufactured tax-evaded cigarettes accounts for as much as 1/5th of the Cigarette Industry in India. According to Euromonitor International, India is the 4th largest illegal cigarette market in the world.
There is widespread and growing presence of illegal cigarettes throughout the country. In fact, the World Customs Organization (WCO) in its Illicit Trade Report, published in December 2016, underlines the growing smuggled cigarette trade in India. The Report states that “…Intelligence input and seizures made by Indian Customs indicate that smuggling of cigarettes in cargo, in baggage and in express shipments has increased considerably…”
Enforcement and surveillance efforts of the Govt. have led to increased seizures. However, the reported seizures are only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger operation, as for every seizure dozens of consignments escape any surveillance.
Here is a list of Media reports on the seizure of illegal cigarettes from across the country.