Smuggling Tobacco

views updated


Smuggling tobacco is the illegal movement of tobacco products across domestic or international borders. It reduces tax revenues, thereby weakening the effectiveness of tobacco control laws. Weakened regulation results in increased access to tobacco by minors, limits enforcement of state and federal laws, and hinders surveillance efforts to track tobacco sales and consumption.

Interstate tobacco smuggling evades state or provincial tobacco taxes. It involves legal purchases of tobacco products in states with lower taxes and shipment of these products to states with higher taxes for illegal sale. Federal taxes are not affected because they are levied at the time of initial purchase.

International tobacco smuggling evades federal, state or provincial, and local taxes, and import/export duties. It involves either tobacco made abroad and smuggled into the United States or into another country, or the introduction of tobacco products into the producing country's black market.

Lawrence W. Green

(see also: Enforcement of Retail Sales on Tobacco; Taxation on Tobacco; Tobacco Control; Tobacco Sales to Youth, Regulation of )