New York Is #1 In Both Cigarette Tax And Smuggling; 61% Bought Illegally

Craig Bannister
By Craig Bannister | January 10, 2013 | 12:11 PM EST

When it comes to cigarettes, New York leads the nation in both tax on, and (naturally) illegal sales of, the product.

Cigarettes smuggled in from lower-tax states account for about 61% of the state's sales, a new study by the Tax Foundation shows.

"Increasing excise taxes on cigarettes have created lucrative incentives for black market trafficking between states, with illegal sales on the rise nationwide," Tax Foundation analyst Scott Drenkard says.

In addition to New York's $4.35 per pack state tax, the local New York City cigarette tax adds on another $1.50 per pack.

Since 2006, New York's cigarette tax rate has jumped 190%, while smuggling has surged 170%, the study shows.

The analysis evokes images of the bootleggers operations of the Prohibition Era's unpopular alcohol ban, citing "Hijacked trucks, or bribed officials turning a blind eye to illegal shipments."

What's next, "Smoke-Easys," underground establishments where people can enjoy a cheap, illegal smoke while escaping the judgmental eyes of  contemptuous busybodies?

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