Rising New York Cigarette Prices Could Boost Black Market, Terrorism

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New York City recently decided to increase the price of a pack of cigarettes to $ 13, making it one of the most expensive places in the world to buy tobacco. In fact, over the years the East Coast city has pursued an aggressive state nanny policy, going even further than just cracking down on smoking.

Once again, American politicians would be inspired by high-tax European countries. One thing must however be clear from the European example: the anti-smoking measures are seriously flawed and harmful. Take France for example: while newly elected President Emmanuel Macron is a staunch supporter of the € 10 pack of cigarettes, the illicit tobacco trade in the Republic is on the rise. 1 in 6 cigarettes in France now comes from the black market, making it a million dollar industry.

The bigger consequences are bigger than the loss of tax revenue and are twofold. On the one hand, these cigarettes are either resold illegally or marketed, transparently or not, as a counterfeit product. Counterfeit tobacco can be very dangerous, as it is made with papers that continue to burn even if there is no streak on the cigarette (creating a high risk of burns) and plastic filters instead of cotton. , creating toxic fumes.

These counterfeit products carry enormous risks, as an investigation for The Sun reveals:

“An independent laboratory analysis performed for The Sun later revealed a packet of
his [the dealer they got the product from] the cigs contained insect droppings, eggs, skin, mites, “unknown organic matter” and a stone. “

An even more disturbing effect of this increase in black market sales is that people are taking advantage of this system. According to the French Center for Terrorism Analysis, a large part of the revenue from the illicit tobacco trade goes to terrorist groups such as the IRA, al-Qaeda or ISIS. Indirectly, New York City is promoting a policy that could benefit international terrorism.

The anti-smoking attitude that governments around the world have taken is almost fanatical. It ignores the risks and rewards, but acts out of pure ideology, which makes it comparable to the Clean Living movements of centuries past. It is even more striking that certain political factions, which have made their dogma of “freedom to choose”, in a way reject any sense of this freedom when it comes to habits that they personally dislike.

People are aware of the health consequences of smoking. Now they have to make their own decisions.

A policy that unintentionally provides greater financial resources to organized crime and terrorist groups and which ultimately reduces the safety of tobacco products should be looked at more critically. If New York City continues with its stubborn anti-smoking policy, then the progress made in health education over the past decades will go up in smoke.

Bill Wirtz is a political commentator currently based in France. Originally from Luxembourg, he writes columns on politics in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, as well as on the emerging politics of the European Union. His articles have been published by Newsweek, The American Conservative, the Washington Examiner, and the Mises Institute. He is an attorney for Young Voices, a regular contributor to Rare Media and the Foundation for Economic Education, and works as a policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center. To read more of his reports – Click here now.

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