Law Enforcement Alliance of America Says New Study Reinforces Police Concerns About Illicit Tobacco Trade

Nov 18, 2010, 15:07 ET from Law Enforcement Alliance of America

SPRINGFIELD, Va., Nov. 18, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Law Enforcement Alliance of America (LEAA) today urged the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to seriously study the effects of the black market that would be created if the government enacts a new prohibition on menthol cigarettes.

LEAA Executive Director Jim Fotis said: "It is encouraging news that a federal advisory committee has received its first report on the expected black market economy that law enforcement knows all too well will emerge if the federal government enacts a new form of prohibition."

According to a news report, the size of this new black market in cigarettes would total in the billions of dollars. LEAA is already on record that a 'menthol prohibition' would cause an explosive growth in unregulated, contraband cigarettes. The new findings, shared with the committee today, appear to confirm law enforcement's fears – precisely the concerns LEAA earlier shared with the committee.

LEAA's Chief Operating Officer Ted Deeds added: "LEAA continues to be concerned that a large addition to the financial gains in the black market triggered by a new 'prohibition' would worsen the problem of illicit tobacco trade, open the door to organized crime, and potentially overwhelm our law enforcement and judicial systems. Instead of merely receiving this report, LEAA urges the advisory committee to carefully and actively weigh the potential impact of a new 'menthol prohibition' on the contraband market, its likely adverse effects on law enforcement." Deeds, observed that, "any 'solution' considered by the federal government -- especially a ban on existing legal products -- should not be one that makes crime more profitable, increases crime or wastes limited law enforcement resources."

The Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Inc., (LEAA) is the nation's largest coalition of law enforcement professionals, crime victims, and concerned citizens dedicated to making America safer.

For information about LEAA, visit its web site at

SOURCE Law Enforcement Alliance of America