California - new cigarette tax stamp to combat counterfeiting..

January 2, 2011 - A newly designed, high-tech stamp will soon appear on cigarette packs sold in California to help fight counterfeiting, State Board of Equalization (BOE) officials announced. BOE chairwoman Betty T. Yee said the new tax stamps will help reduce the trafficking of counterfeit cigarettes and related excise tax evasion statewide. The BOE is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the tax stamp program.

You can't have an effective tobacco control program if you can not control the flow tobacco contraband (smuggling) into your country.

With several new security features, including special inks and a counterfeit and tamper-resistant design, the upgraded tax stamp will help simplify authentication and discourage tax stamp counterfeiting, according to the announcement.

Cigarette-related tax evasion costs California some $182 million annually, BOE officials said. BOE officials say the high tech tax stamp and other enforcement efforts help reduce cigarette tax evasion by $133 million annually.

Retailers and consumers can expect to see the new stamps, which are gold-yellow with a color-shifting effect on the left edge, by Saturday.

The excise taxes paid on cigarettes are used to fund state services and programs including breast cancer research, early childhood education, health education and hospital services, BOE officials said.

In 2002, the BOE required to replace the heat-applied decals in use at the time with counterfeit-resistant stamps encrypted with specific information, readable by a scanning device. The original high tech tax stamp was introduced to the public in 2005. Two years later, another law established a statewide program to license sellers of cigarettes and tobacco products. And three years ago, Lastly, another bill expanded Licensing Act provisions to include requirements for manufacturers and importers of tobacco products.

Reference: New cigarette tax stamp to combat counterfeiting, Times-Herald staff report, Published By Times Herald, 1/1/2011.