New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2003 prison smoking ban produced a pervasive black market, where single cigarettes cost inmates $30, and a pack runs as high as $200, according to the Daily News.

That might sound shocking, but I predicted those unintended consequences nine years ago in a column for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, after the California State Assembly imposed a state-wide prison tobacco ban.

Unfortunately, local, state and federal officials have blindly embraced tobacco prohibition.  Mayor Bloomberg’s policies have made New York City a tobacco prison, with cigarette prices, at $12-15 a pack, the highest in the nation.  Now he wants to prohibit cigarette sales to anyone under 21 years of age, which will force more of today’s legal consumers to the black market.

Half of the cigarettes sold in New York State are illegal, shifting a quarter billion dollars of government revenue to criminals.

Prohibitionists love to claim the moral high ground, but they are bootleggers’ best friends.

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