More than a third of the cigarettes that are smoked in California have been smuggled from other jurisdictions, according to an updated study by the Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
The conservative think tank said that California's illegal cigarette rate, 36.08 percent in 2011, was slightly lower than the 36.29 percent rate calculated in 2009 and ranked it seventh highest in the nation, down from fifth highest in 2009.
The Mackinac study cited a strong correlation between "buttlegging" rates and the level of cigarette taxation. It said New York had the highest rate of smuggled cigarette use 60.4 percent, as well as the highest cigarette tax, $4.35 per pack statewide and an additional $1.50 in New York City.
Meanwhile, it rated New Hampshire as being the biggest exporter of cigarettes to other states because its tax is lower than those of most surrounding states. For every 100 packs of cigarettes smoked in New Hampshire, 27 were taken elsewhere.