New York City Is the No.1 in the US… For Cigarette Smuggling

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Face-palm. New York City is now the cigarette smuggling capital of the United States. In one year, the state lost around $1.63 billion because of the untaxed sale of cigarettes.  Here’s everything you need to know.

We love being number one, but not so much when it comes to things like this. If you are a smoker in New York City, the chances are that your cigarette wasn’t taxed in New York.

A pack of 20 cigarettes purchased in New York City is taxed $5.85; New York State tax cigarettes at $4.35 a pack, NYC then adds $1.50. New York State has the highest tax on cigarettes in the country, followed by Connecticut ($3.90) then Rhode Island  ($3.75). As a consequence of those high taxes, according to a new Tax Foundation study, New York City is now the cigarette smuggling capital in the US.

The new Tax Foundation study, analyzing data from 2015, has this to say:

New York is the highest net importer of smuggled cigarettes, totaling 56.8 percent of total cigarette consumption in the state. […] Smuggling in New York has risen sharply since 2006 (+59 percent), as has the tax rate (+190 percent).

In a recent report by the NYPost, Tax Foundation analysts calculated for the publication smuggling cost the city an around $740 million in 2015, and the state was hit $895 million in addition to that.

There is no doubt that there is a correlation between our high taxes and the amount of smuggling our city and state is seeing. The real mystery is the path forward for New York to stem the tide of illegal smokes.

Featured image source [Pexels]