Customs Officials, please take note of rampant smuggling

I noticed that a certain brand of cigarette is currently out of stock on our beautiful island.

This is a good opportunity for our ever diligent customs officers to make sure that cigarette smuggling is not taking place.

If this brand is suddenly back in stock before our customs offices received any custom duties from the importer, we can safely assume that the new cigarettes were brought in without paying the proper duties.

I have also noticed a certain brand of cigarette being sold for $7.50 per carton.Now how is this possible when our customs duties on the cigarette is $6 per carton and state sale tax on that sale is $1.50? Clearly something is amiss here, are all our tax officials and customs officers sleeping on the job??

We can use this and other method to monitor all the cigarettes being sold here in Pohnpei and try to reduce the amount of smuggling into our island.

Lets work together to make our tobacco tax work for us and cut down smoking deaths (through the availability of cheap cigarettes)in Pohnpei.


  • I am an avid Winston smoker and nothing beat the refreshing tastes (although toxic and deadly) of those individaully wrapped Winston sticks. The darnest thing though, I am paying for my Winston, plus the import tax and the sin-tax on these brands, while some brands just simply slipped through the customs and ended up on the shelves with usually a lesser prize tag. The nut chewers and the smoke-any-brand smokers are likely to shift to those cheaper brands and obviously undermine our tax system, denying thousands of dollars into our treasury. Such seller should have their licenses revoked by the respective government(s) and be suspended for years from selling non-tax, cheaper brand of cigarettes.

    These type of people are the cause of the Custom Act which led to our mail packages been subjected to be opened and inspected at the Custom Offices. I'd say report those businesses and have their license revoked without prejudices. They make our lives double miserable.
  • I don't mind paying the sin tax or to have some cheap smuggled cigarettes when my brand is out of stock. Maybe we should let the businesses be penalized for running out of stocks. During easter holidays, there was no eggs in Yap to celebrate the easter egg-hunt with the kids. More often the short supply of rice in Pohnpei and Chuuk, and the budweiser in Yap. What is this? This is not capitalism, it must be kaptalwachism!
  • kaptalwachism: (kap,tell,watch,izm): It is unclear whether the word has always been considered vulgar, and if not, when it first started to be considered vulgar. Some evidence indicates that in some Yapese speaking locales it was considered "to screw Turmai during the Easter holidays" The word became increasingly offensive over time because of its usage to describe (often in an extremely angry, hostile, discriminatory, hypocritical or belligerent manner) One reason that the word "kaptalwachism" is so hard to trace etymologically is that it was used far more extensively in Turmai's common everyday speech than in easily traceable written forms.

    "Kaptalwachism" did not appear in any widely-consulted dictionary of the English language. Its first appearance in the Micsem public forum (along with the word "Turmai" ) was in April 15th, 2007. "Kaptalwachism" is not widely used in politics, and because of this any use by notable politicians tends to produce controversy. Some events of this nature include: Shortly after kaptalwach was elected Leader of the Farout and cool Party, the then left-wing pimps told Micsem forumers "I don't give a kaptalwach what Turmai thinks!"


    Hows that for comeback?
  • Why don't I have an anonymous name for posting? Okay, I must say, Kaptalwach, that cracked me up....
  • Kap,

    Oh thanks! I found your humors funny and silly when you're mad. But I still can't figure out the character behind that ugly name, kaptalwach. hahaha!
  • You're right Snapshot,

    Smoking is a personal choice for informed adults, but do you like to see our young people spending all their allowance on cigarettes?

    The sin tax and custom duties is a huge source of income for the government. Each carton of cigarettes bring in $6 in custom duties and $1.50 in sales tax for the state government. If each small store sells 1 carton a day, we are looking at over 100 to 200 cartons sold a day, or over 3000 to 6000 cartons a month or up to $36K a month for custom duties and $9K per month for the state government. I am sure the figure is much higher that that. Not to mention money lost in Municipal taxes and Federal taxes.

    This money can be used to fund our anti-smoking education or to buy medicine for the many people who are suffering from smoking related illnesses.

    Its time our customs officials start seriously doing their job. Their inaction is costing us our health and their government jobs.
  • I am registering for the first time just to add my 2 cent worth. People have been busted for smuggling cigarettes already. they are continuing doing it cos all they got was a slap on the wrist. Smuggling is BIG money, if you wanna stop these crooks, u gotta get serious!

    Its no secret who are doing the smuggling, but who's gonna do anything about it? Nobody on this side of the government that's for sure.

    Lets all enjoy our cheap cancer stick.
  • imageaha! cheaper Ticket to Cancer Hospital. :(
    poor micronesians they are being fooled by the cheap stuffs that doest not contribute any good but add more problems on the list.
  • forummer,

    why are you addressing your concern to the custom officers? they know that people are "smuggling". as a matter of fact, they involved. or wait.... they were bought. not on cigarettes only. it's all about the $$$$$. they call it.... oh hell.. who gives a shit what it's called?.......bribes? prostitution? hehe.. whatever!
  • 82i93r,

    I'm addressing the customs officers because it is their JOB. They have loved ones too... loved ones who may be suffering from smoking related illnesses or who may have succumbed to it. It is very painful to see someone go this way, I am appealing to their sense of decency and consciences.

    By looking away, they are causing many families untold grief.
  • passerby,

    My ticket to Cancer has just gone CHEAPER!
    Doral Red, my no. 1 choice cancer stick has lowered its price, thanks largely to this Rampant Smuggling we're talking about.
    We Micronesians are not fooled, consumers are the winners when Smugglers win.
    better the money go to my pocket than go to taxes for our government to waste.
  • A person reveiled that some items found in all the imported washing machines at Sennys' without knowledge of its employees. These items were further collected by its staff, especially those that sold. why did items stocked in the washing machines? I think Custom Officers should investicate this matter, its just happended last week...
  • Are these allegations legitimate ones or just island hearsay? Let's hope they get to the ears of our investigators. Can someone make sure these allegations are investigated? I mean, we have to be careful of what we share here on the forum. If these are facts, why don't you call the FSM Auditors' hotline number?
  • While we should be concerned about these allegations, I have a personal concern on my own relating to the quality of the cigarettes that we are getting. A couple of months ago, my father-in-law purchase a box of Access Cigarettes, took them to the isalnds all 50 cartons of them, only to find out that some were actually old and unfit for smoking. Recently, we just bought another box and am tempted to return it, but I found out a little too late about the rotten ones reported in from the islands. I am now thinking twice of purchsing Access brand cigarettes.
  • keta,

    The customs officials can do their maths - $6 import tax, $1.50 state tax equals $7.50, plus Muni tax and federal tax will be more than $7.50 per carton. That is the cost for a carton of cigarette that is free from the factory and free freight.

    If we add on the cost of the cigarette and freight - the cost will be much higher. What about the profit the company need to make? so How is it possible to sell cigarettes at $7.50?
  • f0rumm3r,

    I guess that's what happen when the government taxes go beyond the means of the people to buy them. If the sinned tax applied to tobacco and liquor, it should also be applied to abortion and blue movies in video shops.
  • I once made a deal w/ a custom officer. A trailor half filled with alcohol, the stupid custom officer only taxed the canned goods that were in front. It only cost me a case of beer. now that I think about it, it's quite pathetic!
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