New York State recently sharply increased the excise tax on cigarettes. Can you guess what happened? Go ahead, guess.
The underground tobacco market is spreading like a fast-growing cancer in the wake of tax hikes that make New York cigarettes the most expensive in the nation -- and it's costing the state tens of millions a month in lost tax revenue, a Post analysis has found.
Illegal cigarettes are pouring into neighborhood bodegas by the truckload from neighboring Indian reservations, lower-tax states in the South and even as far away as China, authorities say. . . .
About 30 million packs are being sold legally each month -- down from 41 million packs a month before July.
The plunge far exceeds tobacco-control experts' predictions that sales would fall 8 to 10 percent, indicating that smokers are finding other means to get their nicotine fix.
In fact, the New York Association of Convenience Store Owners estimates that as many as half of all cigarettes consumed in the state lack proper tax stamps.