Contraband Cigarette Numbers Crossing From Russia Decreases 5-Fold ({{commentsTotal}})

The number of illegal cigarettes brought across the border from Russia decreased 5.5 times in 2013, compared to the previous year when the average person entering Estonia had 85 contraband cigarettes, in addition to legal smokes.

The drop is due to a new policy, implemented at the beginning of last year, of apprehending people who are transporting only small quantities of contraband, Urmas Koidu of the Tax and Customs Board said in a press release on Wednesday.

He added that most violators will not only be asked to hand over the cigarettes, like previously, but will now also receive a fine.

The new approach has also had an effect on the number of people crossing the border, with 24,000, or a fourth, fewer people crossing into and out of Estonia each month.

Legal cigarette sales in Narva, the largest border town, have increased by 60 percent.