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Commission To Study Black Market Tobacco Trade In Massachusetts


Massachusetts has formed a commission to investigate tobacco smuggling.

Department of Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter says the nine-member commission will seek to identify the various forms of tobacco smuggling and determine how much it is costing Massachusetts in lost taxes.

Pitter says its estimated 20 percent of the cigarettes smoked in Massachusetts are purchased on the black market, which translates to a loss of $120 million dollars a year in tobacco taxes. Massachusetts raised its cigarette tax by a $1-a-pack in July making the state an even more attractive market for smugglers.  The commission, which holds its first meeting Monday includes representatives from law enforcement, the legislature, and convenience stores.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.