City and State Ally Against Bensonhurst Tobacco Shop

Claim Roll-Your-Own Cigarettes Unsafe and Untaxed

BENSONHURST (AP) — New York state and New York City are joining forces against roll-your-own cigarette shops that help smokers avoid the taxes that usually up the price of a carton of cigarettes.

The city Law Department and state Attorney General’s office announced they were filing a federal lawsuit against BB’s Corner in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, and Nitecap Entertainment on Staten Island. An ongoing effort by the city has already shut down six similar operations, said city Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo.

Messages left with the two stores seeking comment were not immediately returned.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the stores’ were endangering customers by selling non-fire-safe cigarettes.

“The illegally low prices these businesses are charging for their store-made machine-rolled cigarettes have been shown time and again to encourage people to take up smoking and to discourage smokers from quitting,” he said in a statement.

The stores sell customers loose tobacco and tubes of cigarette paper, then provide machines that quickly make the materials into cigarettes, all while taxing customers at the much lower rate reserved for loose tobacco. At some similar stores, customers can buy a pack of cigarettes for $4 that could normally cost $13.

March 15, 2012 - 1:26pm



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