Lithuania to step up fight against cigarette smuggling

Cigarettes seized by Lithuanian border guards. Photo:

Lithuania plans to tighten control of state borders to prevent the smuggling of contraband cigarettes from Belarus, reports DELFI.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defense Laurynas Kasčiūnas said that smuggling accounts for 20-30% of the entire cigarette market, while Belarusian cigarettes make “the vast majority.”

“When we smoke Belarusian smuggled cigarettes, we support the Lukashenka regime. It’s a big geopolitical security problem, I think,” he said.

Cigarette smuggling is a Belarusian state policy, he said.

In 2019, 10.7% of all cigarettes smoked in Lithuania were illegal, and 82% were made at the Neman factory in Hrodna. In 2020, Lithuanian customs apprehended the largest number of smuggled cigarettes in history, 16.6 million packs – twice as many as in 2019.