Island Smokes, the place where you can go roll your own cigarettes for way less than you’d pay for a regular pack, has decided to shut down on February 1st rather than face the city’s lawsuit.
The city filed suit against the store (there are two locations) in November. The press release about the lawsuit read:
These “roll-your-own” businesses sell cigarettes in disregard of tax and other regulatory statutes applicable to cigarettes, claiming that the business owners do not sell cigarettes, but merely “facilitate” the customers’ assembly of the cigarettes themselves.The City’s suit, filed in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, charges that Island Smokes’ businesses in Manhattan and Staten Island, along with their owners and employees, violate the Federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act and the New York State Cigarette Marketing Standards Act by selling cigarettes on which the required taxes have not been paid. The suit also alleges that the defendants cause a public nuisance by, among other things, selling cigarettes that have not been certified as “fire-safe” as required by New York State law.
A lawyer for the company told the Associated Press that “It really was a business decision. It’s the old adage that you can’t fight City Hall. From a lawyer’s perspective, it was a very winnable case, and something I would have loved to take on. But fighting it alone against an army of lawyers and unlimited funds … the prospects were not that good.”
And so the battle for cheap cigarettes in NYC is officially lost.
[via Daily Intel]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 21, 2011