A Menthol Ban: Its Impact on Law Enforcement Efforts Against the Illicit Tobacco Trade

The global illicit trade of tobacco is a threat to U.S. national security as well as the national security of countless countries around the globe.  Criminal organizations have turned to tobacco because it is a low risk, high-reward product that can yield these organizations very large sums of money.  There is currently a demand for tobacco by its users around the globe.  Because tobacco is legal, however, these organizations must sell it cheaper to entice individuals to want to buy it.  Selling cheaper gives criminal organization the opportunity to build a customer base on which they can rely for revenue.  Such trade also causes approximately $3 to $7 billion in tax losses to individual states and countries.  The illicit trade may also increase health issues of users because it may introduce products to consumers that do not meet the health regulations of the destination country, including some with ingredients not fit for human consumption.