I’m usually behind the times, but I learned a new word today.


A smokeasy (also spelled smoke-easy or smokeeasy) is a business, especially a barroom, that allows smoking despite a smoking ban enacted as a criminal law or an occupational safety and health regulation. The term is also used to describe locations and events promoted by tobacco companies to avoid or evade bans on smoking [1]. The word was added to the New Oxford American Dictionary in 2005,[2] although it was used as early as 1978.[3][4] It is a portmanteau of smoking and speakeasy.

Fascinating. The increasing criminalization of tobacco has of course led to a very lucrative black market.

It has been reported that smuggling one truckload of cigarettes from a low-tax US state to a high-tax state can lead to a profit of up to $2 million.[13]

Two million bucks for a single truckload isn’t bad. I find it fascinating the way the government creates artificial economic opportunities, and of course the biggest one is illegal drugs. But you can be sure that the more they crack down on tobacco, the higher the black market price becomes.

More than anything else the criminalization of goods simply raises the price. For those running the black markets, the more draconian the penalties, the more money there is to be made. From an economic standpoint, the theoretical highest apex of the pyramid would be if the illegal suppliers and those tasked with law enforcement combined operations, as is happening today in the war on drugs.

Imagine the revenues that could be generated if corrupt law enforcement decided to work in cahoots with cigarette smugglers!

Hey, they don’t call this the land of opportunity for nothing.