BOSTON (WBZNewsRadio) - It's been more than two years since Massachusetts banned the sale of flavored cigarettes and vaping projects, but the products are still flowing into the state through the black-market.
A new report by a Multi-Agency Illegal Tobacco Task Force shows law enforcement officials have seized more than 213,000 "electronic nicotine delivery systems", which are linked to cross-border smuggling.
The seizures of vaping products dwarfed those of untaxed cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco products by law enforcement agencies.
“Inspectors and investigators are routinely encountering or seizing menthol cigarettes, originally purchased in surrounding states, and flavored electronic nicotine delivery products and cigars purchased from unlicensed distributors operating both within and outside the commonwealth,” the report’s author’s wrote.
The task force has partnered with federal officials to tackle the cross-border smuggling operations and recover millions of dollars in unpaid tobacco and vaping product excise taxes.
A law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in 2019 banned flavored tobacco products and imposed a new 75% excise tax on the wholesale price of e-cigarettes and vaping products.
Under the new law, anyone caught bringing untaxed e-cigarettes or vaping products into the state can be fined $5,000 for a first offense and up to $25,000 for multiple violations.
WBZ's Jim MacKay (@JimMacKayOnAir) reports