Tonnes of contraband tobacco seized in Occitanie

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Contraband seized in Perpignan

In Montpellier, Nîmes and Perpignan, customs seized over 10 tonnes of contraband tobacco in 2019, and in February 2020, even more is being added to the statistic of illegal trade in tobacco.

A customs control operation took place on February 3 and 4, in Montpellier.  18 locations were inspected, including Montpellier airport, where 80 packs of cigarettes and 13.4 kg of tobacco were seized.  Similar operations took place in other Occitanie cities at the same time.

Nationally, the 2019 figures show that more than 360 tonnes of contraband tobacco were seized, the equivalent of 18 million packets of cigarettes.

Gérard Vidal, the president of the federation of tobacconists in Occitanie, said, “The fact that controls are increasing is reassuring.”

The best-selling cigarette pack in France costs 9 euros and 30 cents. In a few weeks, it will increase by 50 cents,” added Gérard Vidal.

France lost 10% of sales volume in 2019. The most affected tobacconists are located near the Spanish border.  Tobacco is 50% cheaper in La Jonquera.

The government is introducing a new control mechanism, with a national database and a unique code on each pack of tobacco and cigarettes, to combat counterfeiting of brands.  Increased fines are also being introduced to dissuade individuals from stocking up on Spanish tobacco.

Source: Midi Libre, France 3