Cigarettes in Bulgaria, 2017
The true size of the cigarette market and trends in consumption levels had once been extremely difficult to determine accurately due to black market activities, with the overall market size fluctuating according to the affordability of local products and volumes of contraband.
Bulgaria has traditionally had one of the highest rates of per capita cigarette consumption.However, the collapse of the duty paid sector since 2009 and the consequent rise in contraband reduced legitimate consumption levels. There has been a trend away from traditional oriental or semi-oriental blends towards American blend and Virginia cigarettes, as a result of changing consumer tastes and the influx of imported international brands. There is also a movement towards lighter tastes, particularly towards slim and, latterly, superslim cigarettes
Bulgaria ranks as one of the medium sized cigarette markets of Central and Eastern Europe and is now an EU member country. It was once a major cigarette producer due to the very substantial export trade that the local tobacco industry developed during the communist years, but this declined during the 1990s and the country effectively became a self-sufficient producer with minimal imports and erratic and opportunistic exports. .
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