OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TURNS CIGARETTE SELLING INTO ORGANIZED CRIME
By NWV News writer Jim Kouri
March 14, 2011
“The more expensive cigarettes become, the more likely criminals will seek a way to capitalize on this de facto government prohibition by offering cigarettes at lower prices.”
Federal and state governments have raised excise taxes on tobacco products to discourage tobacco use and increase revenues, and in doing so present smokers with a choice: pay exorbitant prices; quit smoking cigarettes; or seek a less expensive source.
Cross-border and illicit trade in tobacco products can undermine these government policy objectives by avoiding excise taxes and increasing the availability of these products to consumers at lower cost.
One of Barack Obama’s first acts as President was to sign into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act passed by Congress, which directed Government Accountability Office to report on cross-border and illicit trade in tobacco products. Cross-border trade is defined in the Act as trade across a U.S. border, state, territory, or Indian country.
Many lawmakers and groups have long been working together to urge the passage of this bill that would provide the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory control over tobacco products.
Illicit trade is defined in the Act as any practice or conduct prohibited by law which relates to or facilitates the production, shipment, receipt, possession, distribution, sale, or purchase of tobacco products.