Illicit Cigarette Consumption and Government Revenue Loss in Vietnam: Evidence from a Primary Data Approach.
This article provides the first comprehensive picture and independent estimates of both illicit cigarette consumption and the resulting government tax revenue loss in Vietnam using data from a representative survey of cigarette smokers in 12 Vietnamese provinces. The survey consisted of face-to-face interviews and on-site cigarette pack examinations. We find that more than 720 million illicit cigarette packs, or 20.7% of total cigarette consumption, circulated in Vietnam in 2012. Consequently, government tax revenue loss due to illicit trade ranged from US $223 to 295 million. Our estimates also indicate that 1) the most popular illicit brands were Jet and Hero, both were sold at higher prices than the average legal brand; 2) the average price of illicit cigarettes was 51% higher than the average price of legal cigarettes; and 3) majority of illicit cigarettes were sold at convenience stores, which were registered and licensed businesses. Our findings suggest that prices are not a driver of illicit cigarette consumption in Vietnam, and this illicit trade is at least partially a consequence of weak market control enforcement.
Nguyen, MT; Dao, ST; Nguyen, NQ; Bowling, M; Ross, H; So, AD
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