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Legislators Need to Address the Growing Problem of Tobacco Smuggling

R.J. Reynolds ConsumerFeature


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:60 READER SCRIPT
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THIS YEAR, STATE-TAX-REVENUE LOSSES RESULTING FROM INTERSTATE TOBACCO-SMUGGLING COULD REACH OVER FIVE-BILLION DOLLARS.  RICH MARIANOS--A RETIRED "A-T-F"-AGENT WHO NOW SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE ISSUE, AT "THE-NEW-TOBACCO-ROAD"-DOT-COM--IS ENCOURAGING LEGISLATORS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE.  HE SAYS THAT CIGARETTE-SMUGGLING IS NO LONGER A MOM-AND-POP OPERATION.  INSTEAD, IT'S GROWING INTO A SOPHISTICATED, CRIMINAL INDUSTRY--WITH DIRECT TIES TO GANG-ACTIVITY, ORGANIZED CRIME, AND EVEN TERRORISM.  SMUGGLED CIGARETTES ARE THE NEW CURRENCY OF ORGANIZED CRIME--WITH PROFITS THAT ARE OFTEN GREATER THAN THOSE FROM OTHER ILLICIT-ACTIVITIES.  ACCORDING TO MARIANOS, IF YOU'RE DRIVING ON INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS--AND YOU PASS A TRACTOR-TRAILER, OR EVEN A BOX-TRUCK--THERE'S A REAL CHANCE THAT ITS CARGO IS CONTRABAND-CIGARETTES.  HE BELIEVES THAT THE FIRST STEP TO ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM IS TO MAKE TOBACCO-TRAFFICKING MORE PAINFUL THAN A PARKING-TICKET:  THE STATES OF VIRGINIA AND RHODE ISLAND HAVE ALREADY PASSED LAWS TO MAKE CIGARETTE-SMUGGLING A FELONY.  AND, OTHER STATES ARE ALSO LOOKING AT NEW LAWS AND PENALTIES.  TO LEARN MORE, VISIT "THE-NEW-TOBACCO-ROAD"-DOT-COM.


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