The production and sale of illegal cigarettes has caused a cumulative fiscal loss of 27 billion pesos during the 2013-2021 period, authorities said on Friday.
This illicit trade affects the competitiveness of the business and its legal volume. According to industry estimates, at the end of 2022 the total volume drop in legal cigarettes was approximately 61%, compared to 2012, said the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes (MICM).
To date, 28 brands of illegal cigarettes have been identified that are marketed in Dominican territory, without stamps or health warnings required by law.
Among them, the names of Gold City and Capital stand out, the latter representing 62% of the total products seized by the competent authorities between 2016 and 2020.
The MICM stated in a statement that, during the period 2000-2023, it has achieved the seizure of more than 183 million units of illegal cigarettes, with the support of the Specialized Body for Fuel Control (Ceccom), and other government entities.
“Following the increase in the incidence of illegal cigarettes of 33% per year in recent years, we have declared war on this practice that affects both consumer rights and tax collections in the country,” said the minister. of Industry, Commerce and Mipymes, Víctor ‘Ito’ Bisonó.
With more than 600 operations carried out in the last three years, the vast majority of them carried out in the border area, the consolidation of official efforts has resulted in a significant reduction in the illegal cigarette trade, noting that by 2021, the incidence of cigarette smuggling cigarettes dropped from 49.4% to 32.5%.
This blow to illegal activity is the result of daily confiscation operations, led by the Ceccom team and with the support of a series of institutions such as the Public Ministry, the General Directorate of Customs, the General Directorate of Internal Revenue, the Ministry de Salud and Pro Consumidor, among other entities, specified the information.
Last February, the ministry and Ceccom jointly launched a campaign on the problem of illegal cigarettes, which seeks to generate a better understanding of the problem, its impact on the local industry, and the role of merchants and consumers in the fight against cigarette smuggling