More than 80% of Brazilians believe in the relationship between cigarette smuggling and organized crime in the country


Research shows that Brazilian associates contraband with violence and does not see efficient government action in the inspection and fight against illegal trade


A survey carried out by Datafolha at the request of the Movement in Defense of the Brazilian Legal Market, a coalition that brings together more than 70 entities representing sectors affected by illegality in Brazil, presents a very critical panorama in relation to the performance of the Brazilian and Paraguayan governments in the fight against smuggling between the two countries. Conducted between February 9th and 11th of this year, the survey heard about 2 thousand people in 130 small, medium and large cities in all regions of Brazil.

For 77% of respondents, the Brazilian authorities do not act effectively in border surveillance, a percentage that is 73% for the effectiveness of the Paraguayan government in the same area. One of the main findings of the research is the assessment that Brazilians make of the reasons why inspection on the Paraguayan side is so flawed.

Among respondents who believe that Paraguayans do not take measures to contain the problem, 76% believe that this is because politicians and authorities profit from this type of business. This is especially true of cigarette smuggling. Today Paraguayan brands are already responsible for 45% of sales in Brazilian territory, and the president of Paraguay, Horácio cartes, owns the largest cigarette manufacturer in the country.

The Eight cigarette, manufactured by Tabacalera del Este, a Cartes company, is today the best-selling brand in the State of São Paulo and the third in Brazil. And 41% of respondents know the brand, a percentage that rises to 48% among respondents aged 16 to 24, showing that smuggling penetration is even higher among younger people.

The survey also found that 84% of respondents see a link between cigarette smuggling and organized crime in Brazil. The Brazilian government's efforts to curb the entry of Paraguayan cigarettes into Brazil are disapproved, and support for sanctions against Paraguay is supported by 58% of those surveyed.

“Lack of competence in surveillance by the governments of both countries, and in the Paraguayan case, Brazilians also see an omission motivated by the fact that authorities and politicians from the neighboring country are beneficiaries of cigarette smuggling to Brazil,” says Edson Vismona, president of the Brazilian Institute of Competitive Ethics (ETCO) and coordinator of the Movement.

The executive recalls that the smuggled cigarette trade in Brazil is dominated by criminal organizations such as the First Comando da Capital (PCC) and the Comando Vermelho (CV). “It is not possible to talk about crime without victims. Documents seized by the Civil Police in São Paulo show that the PCC establishes quotas for the sale of Paraguayan cigarettes and needy communities in the state ”informs.

Vismona also recalls that, although important, policies to restrict cigarettes cannot be excessive, at the risk of further stimulating the smuggling of the product. "The excess of taxes for the sector is one of the decisive factors in the growth of cigarette smuggling in the country, since Paraguayan brands check to cost less than half the minimum price established by law in Brazil" recalls the entity's president.

Donte: Southwest Leaf (31/05)