Business: Tobacco Road

Smuggling smokes is not a victim less crime

To many smokers, the smuggling of cigarettes from low-tax to high-tax states is a victimless crime—a free-enterprise way to bring down prices. Lawmakers see it differently. This week a law goes into effect in Ohio that makes "buttlegging" of as little as $60 worth of smokes a felony punishable by a minimum six-month prison term for the first offense. Ohio thus joins eight other states in recognizing that cigarette smuggling is no mere misdemeanor but a crime that drains their treasuries of badly needed revenue.

A growing crime too. Cigarette bootlegging is now a...

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