The black market was so common a way of making a living with tabacco trade it was lived as a necessary evil, almost as if it wasn't against the law. It took skill and cunning to outfox the tax guards. Punishments ranged from verbal warnings to fines and imprisonment. Everone from grandparents to women and children participated in illeagle trade of tabacco, some actually boasted it was a profession, others barely thrived, living in poverty.
Toward the end of the 1800's and early decades of the 1900's tabacco trade was at his apex. The Contraband market was put under careful scrutiny, many laws governing the production made it more difficult to circumvent controls. Illicit coltivation and stockpiling leaves until they could be sold on the black market was all done in secret. Tin containers (segreti) were buried underground or hidden in the mountains until the men could sell their hard earned crop in the black market.
“ I was a black market tabacco dealer, there were 8 family members at home, my father was dead so I had to 'meter su la caliera'- put the water on to boil for everyone. With the bundles of tabacco we would leave with 40 or 50 kilos on our backs and another half a sack on our front. We would head toward Sasso, Asiago, We had to deal in contraband so we could live, we were hungry, , not to be against the State but we couldn't make enough profit to eat. (Giuseppe L., Valstagna, 1999.)