POSTED: Saturday, November 10, 2012 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, November 10, 2012 - 3:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A new nationwide study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Michigan examined cigarette smoking in most of the 50 states.
Mackinac found that 36 percent of all cigarettes consumed in Washington are contraband.
The study's findings reveal that, for the first time, nearly four out of ten cigarettes consumed in Washington are illicit.
"The bottom line here is that many governments are making tobacco products as valuable as illicit narcotics," said Mackinac's Michael LaFaive.
Contraband cigarettes are those for which Washingtonâ€™s $3.02 per pack state tax have not been paid.
In 2010, as the financial crisis mounted, Washington state increased its cigarette tax by a dollar a pack to the fourth highest state tax in the nation.