[Excise taxes on tobacco and the problem of smuggling - concerning the credibility of the tobacco industry's "Discarded-Cigarette-Packages-Study"]

Gesundheitswesen. 2011 Oct;73(10):705-12. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1255089. Epub 2010 Sep 16.
[Article in German]


The consumption of tobacco products is one of the main causes of illnesses. An often neglected but highly effective instrument for fiscal and preventive purposes is higher taxes on tobacco products. The tobacco industry however claims that higher taxes have tremendous effects on smuggling activity with additional costs with regard to law enforcement. The claim appears to be substantiated by a study which collects and documents the amounts of discarded empty cigarette packs, and which is used to estimate the fraction of illegally imported cigarettes. We show that this study makes use of systematic misspecifications and impreciseness and thus seems to pursue the aim of showing an exaggerated high amount of illegally imported cigarettes. The industry's claim that two thirds of non-taxed cigarettes in Germany are imported illegally, thus lacks any sound, well-grounded empirical corroboration.

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Commerce / economics*
  • Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Crime / economics*
  • Crime / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Product Packaging / statistics & numerical data
  • Refuse Disposal / statistics & numerical data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Taxes / economics*
  • Taxes / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Tobacco Industry / economics*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*