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A special commission charged with studying the economic fallout of the illegal cigarette and tobacco trade in Massachusetts is preparing to hold its first meeting.

    The commission was created by state lawmakers to determine the magnitude of the black market tobacco trade.

    The nine-member panel, which will meet Monday, is also expected to recommend legislation, enforcement actions and penalties. One goal of the commission is to help strengthen the collection of tobacco excise and sales taxes.

    Revenue Commissioner Amy Pitter said tobacco smuggling is a growing problem in Massachusetts and other states and can be found at the local, state and international levels

    Pitter said the commission will also look at how other states combat counterfeit tax stamps and underground distribution rings.

    The commission is expected to make its recommendations next March.  (Associated Press)