Most blog visitors think you'll see $15 as a pack price this year. I wouldn't be surprised if a pack is already $15 in some areas of the Northeastern states. However, some of those northeastern states are thinking of lowering their tobacco taxes.
I think (for example) NJ wants to lower the cig tax because that state is losing "cigarette business" to states with lower cig taxes within that same region. Smokers are driving to states with lower taxes, AND cigarette smuggling is more common as well. When smokers buy their packs from cig dealers in the streets, the hi-cig tax states are still losing money.
Buying a pack of Marlboros or Newports (or whateva brand) from a cig dealer underground is no different from smokers who used to buy cigs online. Obama made it possible for all states to stop losing cig tax money by signing the PACT Act. But that act still aint gonna stop cig smuggling. And it's not gonna stop someone from selling packs in the streets for only 5-6 bucks each.
The only way states in the northeast can stop losing cig tax money is if they lower the taxes to a lot more than juz a dime per pack. If a pack was only 2-3 bucks like it was in the good ol' days, then that would help put an end to cig smuggling.
And if cigs were more affordable offline in the 2000s, I bet online smoke shops (Indian smoke shops included) neva would have been successful. Why pay $20 (and shipping) for a carton online if I could get an offline carton at the same price?