Tobacco: Italy is a role model in the fight against contraband

Today, at the Palazzo Rospigliosi Congress Centre in Rome, took place the presentation of the “1st Report on Illicit Trade in the Tobacco and E-cig Sectors” produced by Eurispes, in collaboration with the Agromafie Observatory Foundation and with the contribution of Philip Morris Italia. The elaboration of the Report is the result of the work carried out by the M.A.C.I.S.T.E. Table (Agromafie monitoring and contrast to illicit trade in the tobacco and E-cig sectors), coordinated by the Foundation and involving every year the main national players in the sector so as to provide an exhaustive picture of the criminal phenomena in the tobacco sector. Exponents of the Police Forces, the Customs and Monopolies Agency, the Investigative Directorate and the District Anti-Mafia Directorate, as well as experts of the sector and members of the Scientific Committee of the Agromafie Foundation took part in the working tables. In addition, several representatives of the competent Ministries participated in the various tables, including: the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy.

According to the latest data, presented during the meeting, in 2021 Italy was confirmed as the best practice at European level, with a consumption of 1.4 billion illicit cigarettes, equal to 2.2% of the total, compared to a European average of 8.1%. There was also a decrease of 1.2 percentage points compared to 2020, against a growing European trend – in the same period – of 0.3 percentage points: a result made possible thanks to the constant commitment and effectiveness of the law enforcement and deterrence action carried out by the Police and the Customs and Monopolies Agency. At a national level, the lost income from illicit activities was 272 million euros (-36% compared to 2020, corresponding to a recovery of approximately 100 million euros on an annual basis).

According to Ettore Prandini, National President of Coldiretti and of the Agromafie Observatory Foundation, who spoke at the event, «Fighting illegality is important to protect a sector such as Made in Italy tobacco production, which holds the record at European level. A supremacy achieved through the tool of supply chain agreements that have made a decisive breakthrough in terms of quality, transparency and product innovation. However, the fight against criminal phenomena also helps to defend the health of consumers from the risks linked to the lack of controls».

Gian Maria Fara, President of Eurispes, emphasises: «What has curbed the spread of illegal tobacco trafficking in Italy has been and continues to be, above all, the progressive capacity of control and repression exercised by the law enforcement agencies, as well as the effective attention paid to the phenomenon by the competent authorities (in particular the Guardia di Finanza, Carabinieri, State Police, Customs and Monopolies Agency, DDA and the National Anti-Mafia and Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office)».

Gian Carlo Caselli, President of the Scientific Committee of the Agromafie Observatory Foundation, observes «The survey aims to provide an in-depth picture of the phenomenon of illicit trade in tobacco – raw and processed – and its implications. The issue of illegal trade is not sufficiently present in the public debate despite the strong negative impact of the problem at national and international level. This investigation is part of the Observatory’s institutional research and study activities, in the awareness that any recovery of legality is a benefit to the community to which we belong».

«M.A.C.I.S.T.E. provides a very important snapshot of the criminal phenomena related to smuggling. The past year saw a drop in the consumption of contraband products in our country and this is a good sign, but we must move forward in this direction» – is Marco Hannappel’s comment, President and CEO of Philip Morris Italia, who added: «Philip Morris is and will always remain at the forefront of all actions to combat illicit trade and illegal trafficking».

The event was attended by: Vincenzo Gesmundo, Secretary General Coldiretti; Gian Carlo Caselli, President of the Scientific Committee of the Agromafie Observatory Fundation; Gian Maria Fara, President Eurispes; Marco Hannappel, President and CEO of Philip Morris Italia; Carlo Ricozzi, former General CA Guardia di Finanza and Coordinator of the M.A.C.I.S.T.E Working Table; Gennarino Masiello, President of ONT; Francesco Greco, former Public Prosecutor of Milan and Head of the Europe Project of the Agromafie Observatory Foundation. The closing speech was given by Ettore Prandini, National President of Coldiretti and of the Agromafie Observatory Foundation.

To read the full version of the Report click here

to download the summary click here


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