Illicit Cigarettes Taking Over SL Market

Illicit Cigarettes Taking Over SL Market

The sale of illegal cigarettes in Sri Lanka has risen to 29% of the market, according to a new survey. This is a significant increase from the 14% share they held in 2017.

The rise in illicit sales is being driven by several factors, including the high cost of legal cigarettes, the currency crisis, and the import controls that were put in place in 2022.

Demand for illicit cigarettes:

In 2023, the government increased taxes on cigarettes twice, which made legal cigarettes even more expensive. This led to a surge in demand for cheaper, illicit cigarettes.

The most popular brand of illicit cigarettes in Sri Lanka is called “Manchester.” These cigarettes are smuggled into the country from East Asia and are typically sold for around 80 to 100 rupees a stick.

The government is losing a lot of money due to the illegal cigarette trade. In 2023, it is estimated that they lost around 79 billion rupees in tax revenue.

The government is trying to crack down on the illegal cigarette trade, but it is a difficult task. The smugglers are using a variety of methods to get their cigarettes into the country, including hiding them in other goods, hand-carrying them, and even using fishing boats.

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