Skip to main content

New cigarette tax could fuel black market for tobacco in Minnesota

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Some law enforcement officials say higher taxes could lead to a black market for cigarettes in Minnesota.

A Homeland Security agent tells KSTP-TV it’s not unusual to find people smuggling tobacco into a state to sell it at lower prices.

"When a state raises its taxes, historically, it invites the black market into the economy because there is a profit to be made for folks to smuggle tobacco in to beat the higher tax rate," said Michael Feinberg. "Historically, a lot of times, organized criminal activity can take advantage of this, whether it's a drug trafficking organization, or an organization that is in the black market."

Starting July 1, Minnesota lawmakers voted to raise the tax on cigarettes by $1.60 per pack.

KSTP notes the new cigarette tax will be 30 cents higher than in Wisconsin, $1.47 higher than in Iowa, and $2.39 higher than in South Dakota.

According to the Raise it for Health coalition in Minnesota, the state's tax will help prevent thousands of kids from becoming addicted and help current smokers quit.

Next Up


Mayo Clinic specialist: 'The omicron surge is not over'

Experts expect a rapid decline over the next month followed a period of calm.

police lights

Charges: Man in stolen Jeep leads police on 110 mph chase

He crashed into a light post near the Capitol and then fled on foot, the complaint says.

kua dog go fund me

Puppy in back of stolen Audi found, reunited with owner

The 4 1/2-month-old bullmastiff had been missing more than a week.

Fuzzy Gerdes Flickr Franks Diner Kenosha

WI's best 'hole-in-the-wall' diner is Guy Fieri-approved

Come for the "garbage pile," stay for ... even more breakfast food.


Minnesota's pre-pro women's soccer team unveils name, logo

The new name and look was unveiled after community owners voted on a winner.

fentanyl DEA

21 people charged in connection to drug trafficking in northern MN

Police say the organization sold more than 10 pounds of heroin and fentanyl in northern Minnesota.

Band Box Diner Courtney Mault Flickr

MN's 'best hole-in-the-wall diner' is, sadly, currently closed

MSN recently published its pick for best diner in each state.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Thursday, January 27

Cases remain very high but hospitalizations have been plateaued for the past week.

state patrol

Minnesota state trooper injured at crash scene on I-35

The trooper was in his squad when another vehicle struck.

money hundred dollar bills

Charges: Man stole thousands from 3 Twin Cities banks

When he was arrested, police found a folding knife on him.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here's what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said in his first press conference

The 40-year-old former Wall Street trader originally wanted to be an economics professor.