The Tobacco War

As the price of cigarettes continues to rise so does the profitability of smuggling cheap cigarettes and selling counterfeit ones. Some take the merchandise by force, violent robberies of tobacconists are on the rise. These stolen cigarettes are then sold on the streets by undocumented immigrants for 4 euros (3 euros cheaper than in the shops). Others have cottoned on the power of the internet, but despite claims on their sites that buying cigarettes over the web is completely legal it isn’t, and many are confiscated by customs officers who check suspicious looking packages from certain countries.

We also go to meet traffickers in China who are selling counterfeit cigarettes made to order to European tastes, in vast underground factories. Around 100 billion fake cigarettes are produced every year, with Chinese authorities often turning a blind eye.

An in-depth investigation into cigarette trafficking and the networks behind it.


  • Year: 2013
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: Sable Rouge
  • Director:
  • Available Versions: FRA
  • Country of production: France

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