FROM: CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
Use of Tobacco Tax Stamps to Prevent and Reduce Illicit Tobacco Trade — United States, 2014
CDC Media Relations
Illicit trade undermines tobacco control efforts and might contribute to health disparities. Comprehensive tax stamping policies could enhance U.S. efforts to reduce illicit trade, thereby increasing revenues as well as protecting public health and reducing smoking by stopping illegal cigarette sales. Increasing tobacco products’ unit price is the most effective tobacco prevention and control intervention. Illicit tobacco trade can undermine high tobacco prices by providing tobacco users with cheaper-priced alternatives. Tobacco tax stamping could further support efforts to prevent and reduce illicit trade. A comprehensive tax stamping approach includes using digital, encrypted (high-tech) stamps; applying stamps to all tobacco products, including cigarette-equivalent products like little cigars and roll-your-own tobacco; and working with Native American tribes on stamping agreements for tribally sold products. As of January 1, 2014, most states used traditional, paper (low-tech) stamps that are easy-to-counterfeit. Many states did not explicitly require stamps on cigarette-equivalent products, and approximately two thirds of states with federal reservation land had not negotiated codified agreements that permit tobacco stamping of tribally sold products.