New York's Bootleg Ciggies Go Up In Smoke, Remain Expensive Enough to Make You Quit

If you're a smoker, you likely know by now that New York City has found the best way to make you quit: not by ads that prominently feature large, grossly cancered body parts or by offering up free gum and patches. No. It's by jacking up the price to the point where you're basically in one of the "higher" tax brackets if you're both a heavy smoker and can afford to pay your rent. Which has yielded a black market economy of bootleg cigarettes. Which just got busted in a big way.

Via Bronx Ink, four guys with 1,925 cartons of cigarettes who were also in possession of 36,800 counterfeit tax stamps. Which they will no longer get to use to either (A) sell us cheap cigarettes or (B) make more money by selling them at a higher profit margin, which is apparently something they do. Also, the best part of the report, however, is this:

Brad Maione, a spokesman for the Department of Taxation and Finance, said, "The presumption was that they would probably attempt to sell them at some point, but we were able to interdict them and prevent that sale." Maione said the men "likely" got the cigarettes from an Indian reservation upstate or on Long Island. Maione said reservations are "a significant source of untaxed cigarettes."

Because now I know where to get cheaper cigarettes.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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