Wyoming: casually smuggling cigarettes

| March 31, 2014

For every 100 cigarettes smoked in Wyoming, an additional 24 cigarettes are smuggled out, according to a story by Laura Hancock for the Billings Gazette.

Most of the “smuggled” cigarettes are probably bought legally in Wyoming and then taken for personal use to neighboring states with higher cigarette taxes.

According to a recent report about cigarette smuggling, Wyoming’s rate of “outbound smuggling,” or cigarettes leaving the state, is the second highest in the country.

The report was released by the Tax Foundation, which believes tax policy should be simple, transparent, stable and low, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which describes itself as doing economic research that draws support from market-oriented libertarians, moderates and conservatives.

The Mackinac Center used a statistical model to compare legal, per capita sales of cigarettes with smoking rates for Wyoming tabulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Michael LaFaive, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center.

While cigarettes in some low-tax states end up on the streets of places such as New York City, where a pack costs upward of $14, Mackinac Center researchers believe the cigarettes leaving Wyoming aren’t controlled by organized criminal rings.

The researchers used a statistical tool to tease out casual versus commercial smuggling.

And since Wyoming isn’t close to the population centers where cigarettes are the most expensive, the researchers concluded that cigarettes were likely being taken to neighboring states by individual smokers.

Category: Breaking News

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