A new website has been launched with the aim of raising awareness of the black market cigarette trade in the U.S.
Sponsored by RAI Services Co., a subsidiary of Reynolds American Inc., the new website aims also to encourage states to pass stiffer penalties for smuggling and devote more resources to enforcement.
“Cigarette smuggling costs states an estimated $5.5 billion annually,” said a note posted on RAI’s website announcing the new website.
The new website, www.thenewtobaccoroad.com, is said to show how Interstate 95 has become a key transit route for cigarette smuggling from southern states to the Northeast. “The illegal profits that are being derived from these operations benefit an organized-crime infrastructure already experienced in transporting illegal drugs and other contraband, and fostering violent crime up and down the I-95 corridor,” said the RAI note.
The website aims to provide “important information of interest to lawmakers, law enforcement officials and concerned citizens on how serious the problem of cigarette smuggling really is, and what federal and state governments can do about it.”
It features access to recent studies and news reports on the prevalence and cost of cigarette smuggling for the major states along I-95.