Public Health Study Finds 15 Percent of Cigarettes Sold in NYC Have Illegal Tax Stamps

From: New York University | Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development


Silver and her colleagues studied the sales of illegal cigarette packs at licensed New York City retailers in the spring and fall of 2014, after the minimum price law was established. Investigators purchased 830 packs of cigarettes from chain and independent cigarette retailers in 92 retail-dense neighborhoods throughout all five boroughs. To determine the legality of the tax stamps, the New York City Sheriff’s office used a laser detection device to inspect the packs and find counterfeit and out-of-state stamps.


A significantly higher percentage of illegal packs were purchased from independent retailers, compared with chain stores. In addition, the number of illegal packs – which were found in all five boroughs – grew over the period studied, increasing from the spring to the fall of 2014.


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