Tax watchdog says nearly half of Wash. cigarettes are black market

Tax watchdog says nearly half of Wash. cigarettes are black market


KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss

OLYMPIA, Wash. – A tax watchdog group says odds are nearly one-in-two cigarette packs bought in Washington State come from the black market.

The Tax Foundation’s new report finds that 48 percent of the cigarettes in Washington are illegally smuggled in from other states.

Economist Scott Drenkard with the Tax Foundation claims high cigarette taxes are the problem.

Play Scott Drenkard on cigarette smuggling

He says criminals are buying cigarettes in low-tax states and selling them in high-tax states like Washington.

The tax on a pack of cigarettes is more than $3 in Washington, but in Idaho it’s only 57-cents per pack.

Play Scott Drenkard on low tax states

Drenkard says his organization believes cigarette tax rates need to come down to reduce smuggling.

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