Prisoners pay $30 for a smoke in NYC
Inmates are paying a hefty price on the black market after the city banned cigarettes in jails. The ban is taxing city resources as well.
A vibrant black market for cigarettes has developed ever since Mayor Mike Bloomberg banned smoking in jails a decade ago. The situation is so bad that the Department of Correction now brings in dogs to sniff out tobacco in cells.
The dogs don't go into rooms used by prison workers, however, after correctional officers complained that they shouldn't be treated like inmates, The Daily News reports.
Banning cigarettes in jail has most likely led to healthier inmates. And it probably makes life in prison more uncomfortable for some.
But the cost of the ban, from a city resources perspective, has been striking. The number of busts for illegal cigarettes, drugs and blades has risen by 40% in three years, and tobacco violations make up about 16% of the total, The Daily News reports. The Bronx district attorney's office is requesting more money to handle the heavy caseload.
The black market for cigarettes isn't just confined to jails, either. New York's sky-high cigarette tax is leading tobacco retailers to buy their smokes on the black market, The Associated Press reports. An AP reporter walking around the Bronx recently found discarded packs with a tax stamp from Virginia, or with no tax stamp at all.
City authorities inspected some 1,100 licensed tobacco retailers last year and found that about half had cigarettes that were purchased on the black market.
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This is just wrong to let one man have this type of control over anyone, including inmates. Let them smoke in a designated area for gods sake. I am sure being there is punishment enough.
"Sin" taxing has raised the cost of cigarettes so that many who need them can't afford them. Given nicotine’s scientifically verified benefit to some individuals’ successful daily functioning, our most charitable act for many of the less fortunate might be gifting cigarettes to them. The CHIPRA children's health care program utterly depends on tobacco taxation, so "If you're not buying cigarettes, then What Kind of Citizen ARE You?" If you please, here's my anti-tobacco-tax case in a foot-stomper song:
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