Prevalence of smuggled and foreign cigarette use in Tehran, 2009

Tobacco Control

Volume 5 - Number

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Background Iran is one of two main target markets for tobacco smuggling in the WHO s Eastern Mediterranean Region The Iranian government has a local tobacco monopoly but there is high demand for international brands Informal reports show about 20% of cigarette consumption is smuggled brands This pack survey study is the first in Iran to gather validated information on use of smuggled cigarettes Methods A randomized cross sectional household survey in Tehran in 2008-2009 of 1540 smokers aged 16-90 (83% men) was performed including interviewer checking of cigarette packs Results In all 20 9% of cigarettes and 6 7% of domestic branded cigarettes were smuggled A total of 60 1% of smokers preferred foreign cigarettes There was no significant difference between consumption of illegal cigarettes by sex (Fisher exact test p=0 61) Use of smuggled cigarettes was higher among younger smokers (p=0 01) Conclusions Use of illegal cigarettes is high Tobacco control laws outlawing their sale are not being enforced