Tobacco gray market in Minnesota raises concerns
While health officials are trying to cut down smoking, a loophole in federal law is allowing Minnesota wholesalers to import brand-name cigarettes and sell them at rates lower than the market price.
These cigarettes are mostly reimported through Florida and other coastal states. In many instances, the exported-imported cigarettes sell for $3 to $5 less per 10-pack carton. Frequently, the smuggled cigarettes taste harsh and have different levels of tar and nicotine than domestic cigarettes.
Gray-market cigarettes are appearing in other states as well, but 20 states either have laws on the books or have enacted laws in the past year making sales of such cigarettes illegal. Cigarette companies also have gone to court seeking injunctions against wholesalers and retailers selling the disputed product