Corruption, Greed and Crime-money: Sleaze and Shady Economy in Europe and Beyond (2014)

Land of opportunities: The illicit trade in cigarettes in the United States, p. 267

Authors: Klaus von Lampe, Marin Kurti and John Bae


The illegal cigarette trade is a global phenomenon. The smuggling and sale of contraband cigarettes is pervasive in many parts of the world and trafficking routes span the globe. Much of the recent criminological research, however, has focused on the situation in just a few regions, namely Australia, China, Europe and Canada.2 Comparatively little attention has been paid to the cigarette black market in the United States even though the US has been associated with a major problem of cigarette smuggling. According to recent estimates the US has the third largest illegal cigarette market in the world in terms of the absolute number of illegal cigarettes traded, only surpassed by China and Russia. In relative terms, the same estimates suggest that between 13% and 25% of US smokers purchased illegal cigarettes in 2007 (Joossens, Merriman, Ross & Raw, 2009: 10, 12).

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