Many people are smokers, and states across the country have set taxes to not only deter these individuals from using cigarettes, but also make up for healthcare costs. Recently, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued six websites that were illegally selling cigarettes at low prices. Legislators believe that this may have cost the state millions of dollars in potential tax revenue, according to Reuters.
The levy on cigarettes increased from $2.75 to $4.35 in 2010, which increased pack prices to approximately $10 in New York City. In 2003, New York established regulations that prevent unlicensed vendors from selling cigarettes online. Schneiderman told Reuters that the individuals who had been selling packs for discounted prices have been explicitly breaking the law.
The lawsuits include one case against 15 Native American sellers. These individuals operate smoke shops on reservations, which they claim to be exempt from New York bans.
Schneiderman said that aside from the loss of tax revenue, these vendors have been enabling smokers and reducing their chances of kicking the habit.
Smoking can cause lung diseases, heart disease and various types of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drug rehab centers may be able to help individuals quit their addiction to nicotine.