Illegal sales of cigarettes in Bulgaria are estimated at 15.3% of the market by mid-2012, the Sofia News Agency (Novinite.com) reported, quoting a survey conducted by an independent market research agency at the request of tobacco companies.
The share of illegal tobacco products continues to shrink from 34% in 2010 and 23.3% in 2011, the survey found out.
The independent market research agency attributed the downtrend to the government's policy of keeping the excise duty rate unchanged since 2010 and to the efforts of state institutions to curb smuggling.
The share of smuggled cigarettes in smaller towns and villages and border settlements, however, remains high at around 26%, the survey results showed. The illegal cigarette market is estimated at 43.1% in Blagoevgrad, 45.8% in Sandanski, 51.5% in Kyustendil, at 30-35% in Sliven, Haskovo, Pazardzhik, Vidin and Lom, and at a record high 90.5% in Svilengrad, near the border with Greece and Turkey.