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Tob Control. 2016 Sep;25(5):584-6. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2015-052355. Epub 2015 Aug 27.

Over-the-counter sales of out-of-state and counterfeit tax stamp cigarettes in New York City.

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Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University, New York, New York, USA.
Departments of Health Policy and Management and Community Health Sciences, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, California, USA.



New York City (NYC) has strict minimum cigarette price and tax stamp laws, but evidence regarding the extent of evasion of such laws in over-the-counter sales is scarce.


830 packs were purchased at licensed tobacco retailers at 92 randomly selected neighbourhoods in NYC in spring and fall 2014, following the establishment of NYC's minimum price law. The χ(2) analyses of illegal tax stamps on pack, by retailer type and data collection period, are presented.


Over 15% of packs purchased had out-of-state (4.5%) or counterfeit tax stamps (10.6%). Purchases resulted in at least one illegal pack obtained in 70% of neighbourhoods, largely from independent stores. In 21.5% of sampled neighbourhoods, it was possible to purchase an illegal pack each collection period.


Enhanced enforcement of retail sales of cigarettes is needed to ensure the full benefit of existing tobacco control laws in NYC.


Illegal tobacco products; Public policy; Surveillance and monitoring

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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