The European Council's meetings take place this week and the Council published yesterday its conclusions among others with regards to stepping up the fight against illicit trade in tobacco products (Economic and Financial Affairs). Since the business of smuggling cigarettes into the EU seems to be growing, the Council deems it necessary that stricter rules are applied to prevent it. The negative financial impact of illicit trade in tobacco products is estimated at over 10 billion euro on the budget of the EU and the Member States. More importantly for consumer protection, such practices have a negative impact on health protection, especially of young people. The Council points out to the Member States and the Commission areas in which some improvements could be made to more effectively combat illicit trade, e.g., easier and faster detection of smuggled tobacco products, cooperation with source and transit countries, awareness raising campaigns (Cigarette smuggling threatens financial, social and health security of the EU and must be tackled effectively).