So far, we have examined cigarette smuggling in terms of smuggling rates — i.e., smuggling as a percentage of a state’s consumption of cigarettes, both legal and illegal. But a state with a relatively high smuggling rate may not experience a large volume of smuggled cigarettes relative to other states if the state does not consume many cigarettes in the first place. Similarly, a state with a relatively low smuggling rate may experience relatively large smuggling volumes if the volume of cigarettes it consumes is high.

For instance, as shown in Graphic 8, Michigan has the 10th highest smuggling rate in the nation, but it is fifth highest in sheer volume of illegal contraband flowing into the state. Michigan is a relatively populous state, and its residents consume a large volume of cigarettes.

Graphic 8: Estimated Smuggling Volumes and Smuggling Rates, 2009

Total Smuggling Volume in Packs

Rank by

Smuggling Volume

Total Smuggling as a Percentage of State Consumption

Rank by

Smuggling

Percentage

-451,476,921

1

-36.29%

5

-377,512,228

2

-33.29%

6

-339,636,312

3

-47.53%

2

-149,730,490

4

-51.84%

1

-135,716,412

5

-26.04%

10

-87,020,344

6

-28.61%

8

-80,191,715

7

-25.72%

11

-71,336,873

8

-31.75%

7

-69,341,757

9

-6.36%

29

-55,303,065

10

-26.43%

9

-54,829,326

11

-9.16%

23

-52,022,348

12

-21.05%

14

-34,139,212

13

-19.28%

16

-33,841,920

14

-16.23%

17

-30,832,030

15

-19.98%

15

-28,986,907

16

-37.15%

4

-27,788,659

17

-5.94%

30

-26,625,233

18

-4.38%

31

-25,174,107

19

-40.53%

3

-20,095,570

20

-6.74%

28

-19,740,376

21

-9.17%

22

-18,869,157

22

-15.38%

18

-17,186,328

23

-12.14%

20

-16,138,613

24

-6.87%

26

-15,350,054

25

-8.84%

24

-11,568,412

26

-23.52%

13

-9,472,006

27

-23.72%

12

-8,675,939

28

-14.10%

19

-7,422,254

29

-11.94%

21

-5,878,019

30

-6.81%

27

-3,143,809

31

-1.73%

32

-1,883,138

32

-7.21%

25

-581,505

33

-1.56%

33

848,100

34

0.23%

34

2,973,335

35

5.30%

39

2,997,580

36

10.47%

43

3,316,357

37

0.88%

35

6,735,865

38

1.61%

36

7,707,245

39

7.92%

41

7,939,902

40

3.02%

37

8,727,104

41

7.79%

40

12,830,808

42

3.17%

38

18,495,135

43

28.55%

46

19,056,332

44

12.97%

45

24,916,468

45

9.20%

42

46,238,086

46

11.66%

44

159,622,053

47

56.33%

47

Notes: Estimates computed based on regression results presented in columns 3 and 4 of Graphic 12 (see the Appendix). The smuggling percentage is negative when the state is a net importer of smuggled cigarettes, and the percentage is positive when the state is a net exporter of smuggled cigarettes. The sum of commercial, casual and Canada/Mexico smuggling does not equal the totals presented in the final column due to the nonlinear nature of the model. North Carolina, Hawaii and Alaska are not included.

The same goes for other big states. California has the fifth highest cigarette smuggling import rate in the nation, according to our model, but it is first in estimated contraband volume, with more than 451 million packs of cigarettes smuggled into the state. Even more striking is Florida: It has only the 29th highest smuggling import rate in the nation (just 6.36 percent of state consumption), but it is 9th in estimated overall smuggling volume, with our calculations suggesting that nearly 70 million packs were brought illegally into the state in 2009. Similar differences occur for Ohio, which is 23rd in smuggling import rate, but 11th in smuggling import volume; Illinois, which is 30th in rate, but 17th in volume; and Pennsylvania, which is 31st in rate, but 18th in volume.

Conversely, tiny Rhode Island, with a population exceeding just 1 million, has the third highest overall smuggling import rate in the nation, but is 19th among the states in estimated smuggling import volume. Similar disparities occur for New Mexico, which is fourth in estimated smuggling import rate, but 16th in estimated smuggling import volume; Montana, which is 13th in smuggling rate, but 26th in smuggling volume; and South Dakota, which is 12th in rate, but 27th in volume.