$200 Smokes at NYC Jails? What a Ripoff.


New York City officials have been waging all-out war on tobacco in recent years, pushing price hikes and proposing higher minimum purchase ages. But even at $10.50 for a single pack—the latest proposed citywide hike—you’re talking a steal of a deal compared to what some are reportedly paying for as many cigarettes behind bars.

(MORE: ‘I’m Free Now’: The 911 Call That Led to Cleveland’s Dramatic Escape)

Citing a Bronx District Attorney source, the New York Daily News says a pack of cigarettes now goes for up to $200 in New York City prisons. Not that a pack’s supposed to go for anything these days: New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration imposed a ban on smoking in city jails back in 2003.

But that’s apparently created a highly profitable black market for nicotine-laced contraband, culminating in 85 arrests since January 2012, and 20 so far this…

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