Press release, Porțile de Fier, May 17, 2013:  On May 17th, the Border Police, with support from JTI Romania, launched the campaign "Stop cigarette smuggling! You're either on their side, or with the law" in Porțile de Fier. Carried out between May 17th and June 17th in the south-west of the country, the aim of the campaign is to educate and raise public awareness locally about the negative effects and consequences of smuggling on society and on each of us.

The campaign will be carried out in print-media, as well as on local TV and radio channels. Additionally, written materials will be sent by mail to all citizens in the south-western counties (Arad, Caraș-Severin, Hunedoara, Timiș, Bihor, Gorj and Mehedinți), in which the police will focus on the negative effects of cigarette smuggling.

At the same time, those crossing the border in the south-west of the country will receive information about the fines and sanctions which are applied for smuggling cigarettes.

Chief Quaestor Ioan BUDA, General Inspector within the Romanian Border Police, stated:

"Taking into consideration also the financial costs to the state, the Romanian Border Police will apply strict measures in the relevant areas, both independently and together with other institutions, with a view to detecting and sanctioning all people involved in smuggling illicit consumer goods and excisable products, as well as seizing trafficked goods. The result has been the annihilation of tens of criminal groups and over 28 million packs of smuggled cigarette, worth over 30 million EUR, being seized by the Border Police during the last 3 years alone.

“At the same time, I believe that when it comes to preventing and fighting this phenomenon, an important role is played by citizens, who can support the authorities by alerting them to criminal activities. Consequently, through this campaign, we wish to draw well-meaning citizens to the side of law-enforcement. People can safely call the Border Police emergency number, 0219590, where they can inform us of crimes in our area".

Gilda Lazăr, Director of Corporate Affairs at JTI, declared:

"Fighting smuggling is a shared priority for the tobacco industry and the authorities, with the aim of increasing the legal cigarette market and implicitly the taxes paid to the state. We initiated this campaign because we needed to act on the local level as well as nationally. Although the Novel study shows a constant smuggling average in 2012 and the first part of this year of around 13%, things vary by region. In the south-west of the country, smuggling went from 20% in January to 15.5% in March. But in some counties, such as Mehedinți, it made up to 30-40% of the market. So we believe it’s necessary to educate the local public and raise awareness about the negative effects and consequences of smuggling on society and on each one of us.

JTI offers the Border Police expertise and support in order to limit smuggling, as in the case of the seizure made by the Coast Guard. In the near future, we hope to sign a collaboration protocol with the Border Police, just like those already signed with the National Customs Authority and the General Police Inspectorate.

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