Smokers in New York already face some of the highest prices for cigarettes in the country. But last Wednesday, the New York legislature approved a $1.25 tax hike on cigarettes, meaning that taxes alone on a pack in New York are a whopping $4.25, not including a roughly 8% sales tax. Add it all up and a pack of smokes in New York is likely to cost around $9.00. Ouch!
This all got me thinking: Where in the world are cigarettes the cheapest? And more importantly, how can I smuggle a couple hundred thousand packs into New York and sell them for a handsome profit? I think I’ve more or less discovered the answer to the first question, but I’m still working on the second.
A table produced by the World Health Organization (maybe a couple years old) shows that one pack of Marlboros or an “equivalent international brand” costs about $1.70 in Argentina. As much as I’d love to spend some time in Buenos Aires, I have a feeling I can track down a cheaper pack.
In China, an international brand costs about $1.57, which is sneaking down into my price range. The same thing in Ghana will run about a buck-forty. Cigs in Egypt look to be about $1.17, and those in Georgia are a dollar even. But we can do better than that.
The cheapest “international brand” smokes are to be found in Indonesia, where even fetuses are known to light up every now and then. A pack in the steamy Southeast Asian nation will run you a cool $.62. I probably have enough in my couch cushions for at least a couple.
But enough of this hoity-toity “name brand” crap. Let’s look at some prices for the hard stuff– the kind of violent cigarettes that leave open sores in the mouths and throats of all those who dare to inhale.
A pack of the local brand in Brazil runs about $.88, and in Colombia you can pick one up for about $.64. But don’t pay those exorbitant prices– head to Azerbaijan and pick up a pack of what I’m sure are the smoothest, tastiest cigarettes you’ve ever had… for a whopping $.33.
But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the open sores.