Thursday, April 2, 2009

Coffee and cigarettes: now a luxury in NYC

Last night I was in midtown and went into a convenience store off of Madison and bought a cup of coffee (a small) and a pack of American Spirits.


Last June, a state tax hike increased the price of smokes by a whopping $1.25, making New York's cigarettes the most expensive in the U.S. And yesterday, the federal cigarette tax increased to $1.01. New Yorkers are now paying $5.26 in government fees for each pack of smokes! Like it's not expensive enough living in NYC.

I don't smoke like a fiend, in fact a pack will last me about three to four days. I enjoy an occasional cigarette, especially with a cup of coffee. . .

(a very cool film, by the way)

. . . and don't plan on being one of the three percent of smokers expected to quit due to the latest price hike.

I am now going to purchase my cigarettes directly from one of those online Native American reservation distributors. The government has gone a bit too far with their fervent smoker taxes. Enough is enough already. Instead of costing about $12 a pack, my smokes will instead set me back about five.

If you too want to try online purchasing, keep a few things in mind.

First, make sure the smokes are manufactured here in the U.S. Many of these online companies are not only not Native American, they are not even located in the states. Russian tobacco is the absolute shittiest, and the Euro stuff is pretty bad too.

Second, make sure the online company does not supply customers' purchasing info to the state, or you will get hit with a state tax bill. This could arrive in the mail months or even years after your online purchase, so beware. Verify the facts before you buy. And of course, pay with a credit card so if you do get stiffed -- which is known to happen with these online ciggie companies -- you have some recourse.

One company that seems legit is Smokes-Spirits. It is operated by an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation, and I called to verify that their cigarettes are all made in the U.S., that they are located here in America (in Salamanca, New York, actually), and that they do not report purchasing info to the state (which is not illegal, by the way).

No comments: