EghtesadOnline: Cigarette imports fell to zero over the first two months of the current Iranian year (March 21-May 21) compared with the import of 503 million cigarettes year-on-year, Ali Asghar Ramzi, the head of Iranian Tobacco Planning and Supervision Center said on Monday.
The import halt does not mean no foreign cigarette entered Iran, as tobacco smuggling is rife.
Ramzi estimates that 2.7 billion cigarettes were smuggled into the country last year (March 2017-18), indicating a 55% decline YOY, according to Financial Tribune.
He added that a total of 749 tons of mu’assel were imported in the period, indicating a 67% decline YOY, IRNA reported.
A syrupy tobacco mix containing molasses and vegetable glycerol smoked in a hookah, mu’assel is mostly imported from the UAE, Jordan and Egypt.
According to Ramzi, a total of 38,060 kilograms of tobacco were exported from Iran during the same period compared with 850 kilograms in last year's corresponding period.
“Iran’s mu’assel exports also increased from 13,482 kilograms in the first two months of the last fiscal year to 33,640 kilograms this year, registering a 149% rise year-on-year,” he said.
About 49.3 billion cigarettes were produced in Iran during last year, registering a 10% rise compared with the year before.
Ramzi said more than 360 million cigarettes were exported last year, indicating a 112% rise year-on-year.
“Imports experienced an 18% decline YOY to stand at 3.2 billion during the period,” he said.
According to the official, domestic cigarette production meets more than 90% of demand in Iran, as Iranians annually consume close to 55 billion cigarettes.
Iranians annually consume close to 55 billion cigarettes.