Nearly 1 billion smuggled cigarette packets annually consumed in Vietnam

Added On October 10, 2016

  Nearly one billion smuggled cigarette packets are consumed in Vietnam each year, causing losses of over 10,000 billion Vietnamese dong, or some 450 million U.S. dollars, to its state budget, local media reported Sunday.

The cigarette smuggling also causes losses of one million jobs for farmers and workers in the domestic tobacco industry, Central Vietnam Television (VTV) quoted statistics from the Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietnam Tobacco Association as reporting.

In the last two years, Vietnamese police forces nationwide detected nearly 4,000 cases of cigarette smuggling, confiscating more than nine million packets, and prosecuted over 300 cases, VTV quoted statistics from the Ministry of Public Security.

Some local experts proposed stricter penalties for cigarette smugglers and smuggled cigarette transporters. According to them, anyone who transports 500 smuggled packets or more should be brought to court, instead of at least 1,500 packets like currently.

The southern province of Long An, a cigarette smuggling hot spot, has proposed the Vietnamese government allow the re-export of smuggled cigarettes at a price of some 6,000 Vietnamese dong (nearly 0.3 U.S. dollars) per packet, instead of destroying them like currently, daily newspaper Tien Phong (Pioneer) reported.

Vietnam's 15.6 million cigarette smokers spend some 31,000 billion Vietnamese dong (nearly 1.4 billion U.S. dollars) on smoking each year, the country's Health Ministry announced recently. Vietnam has a population of some 92 million people.