New York Tops Ranking for Illegal Cigarette Sales (1/14/13)

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New York sells more illegal cigarettes than anywhere in the United States.  More than 60% of the cigarettes sold come into the state improperly.

A report by the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C. based business oriented tax research organization, indicated that New York’s tobacco tax rate of $4.35 per pack may have contributed to cigarettes being sold illegally at such a high rate.  The state rate does not account for the additional City tax rate of $1.50 per pack.

"Dramatic increases in state cigarette taxes have yielded additional revenue for priorities like public health, but have also fueled the rise of organized crime and law enforcement corruption," said Tax Foundation economist Scott Drenkard in a statement.

The trend of bootlegging cigarettes is maintained by bringing into products from other states, counterfeiting state tax stamps, or hijacking legal shipments.

Arizona and New Mexico also had high rates of smuggled cigarettes, at 54.4 percent and 53.0 percent, respectively,

A USA Today analysis found in September that a 39 cent federal cigarette tax hike signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 contributed to at least 3 million more people giving up the habit.

Source: Yahoo News