Tobacco Underground

Video: the most pressing issues in tobacco smuggling

Sociologist Luk Joossens is one of the world’s top experts on tobacco smuggling. In 1995, he co-authored a paper that alerted the world about a striking disparity between cigarette exports and imports — that billions of cigarettes were missing and likely diverted to black markets in dozens of countries. Today, Joossens is one of six experts advising the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control — a global treaty to reduce tobacco use — on how to crack down on the booming underground trade in cigarettes.

In this video interview, conducted by veteran ICIJ reporters Duncan Campbell and Alain Lallemand in Belgium, Joossens talks about some of the most pressing issues in tobacco smuggling, from Russian-made cigarettes pouring into Europe’s black markets to China’s massive cigarette counterfeiting industry.

Thanks to Le Soir in Brussels for this video.

Contributors to this story: Duncan Campbell and Alain Lallemand

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