Department of Revenue reports on retail cigarette enforcement
Since July 1, 2013, the Minnesota Department of Revenue has completed more than 1,000 inspections of retailers to ensure they are selling only state-stamped cigarettes.
The department has worked with law enforcement agencies in numerous seizures of unstamped cigarettes. State stamps on cigarettes are proof that the seller paid Minnesota’s cigarette taxes.
The increase in cigarette and tobacco taxes that took effect July 1, 2013, reflects the state’s commitment to emphasize a healthy community and reduce the number of young people using tobacco. The cigarette tax increase will also help cover the long-term public health costs associated with tobacco use.
On Friday, April 18, Department of Revenue officials seized 2,810 packs (281 cartons) of cigarettes without state stamps. The cigarettes were being shipped from an out-of-state business to retail businesses on the Leech Lake Reservation.
By not paying Minnesota’s cigarette tax, the Band sells the unstamped cigarettes for a lower price ($3.50 per pack) compared to other retailers, who sell state-stamped cigarettes for $6 to $9 per pack.
Currently 10 of the 11 federally recognized tribes sell only cigarettes carrying the state’s stamp, consistent with federal and state laws. The Leech Lake Band is the only tribe that sells cigarettes without a state stamp.
The rules and laws for selling tobacco products can be found online at www.revenue.state.mn.us/businesses/cigarette/factsheets/cigarette_fs2.pdf.