Cigarettes In NYC Jails Cost As Much As $200 Per Pack Due To Smoking Ban

A prisoner smoking a cigarette in his prison cell
A prisoner smoking a cigarette in his prison cell

The black market for cigarettes in New York City jails thrived after Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned inmates from smoking in 2013. A single smoke behind bars could now cost you 30 dollars.

Imprisoned and hankering for a whole pack? That'll cost you a whopping $200.

The Daily News reports 85 arrests have been made in connection to the sale of illegal cigarettes since 2012, including Thursday's arrest of Rikers deliveryman Stephen Freeman who allegedly planned to sell four bags of tobacco to inmates.

And as most New Yorkers know, prisons aren't the only places rife with illegal smokes.

The city's cigarette tax, the highest in the nation at $5.85, is reportedly pushing merchants to sell cigarettes from out of state. The merchants, it appears, aren't scared of the city's relatively low fines if they get caught.

In hopes to combat the continued tax evasion and illegal sales, Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation to increase the penalty from $150 per smuggled carton to $600.

Several New York City politicians are also backing a new effort to raise the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21.



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