Sales of Indian Cigs in NYC Go Up in Smoke

Mayor Mike Bloomberg's quest to make New York City smoke-free enjoyed another victory with a ruling that prevents Indians from peddling tax-free cigarettes to Gothamites.

U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Amon in Brooklyn announced Wednesday that the Poospatuck Indians of Mastic, Long Island, may no longer sell untaxed butts to nicotine-hungry New Yorkers -- or anyone else who doesn't live on the reservation for that matter.

"She wanted to stop sales at any cost,'' Unkechaug Chief Harry Wallace told the AP, adding that the ruling will dramatically hurt sales. "It would put every Indian store ... out of business.''

Everyone on the reservation would need to sell 19,200 cigarettes a day to maintain the current level of sales their shops have enjoyed, noted 1010 WINS.

As of Thursday morning, the reservation's website boasted, "on May 22, 1997, Governor George E. Pataki repealed all regulations concerning the imposition of sales and excise taxes on transactions which take place on Indian Territory in New York."

It was a nice run while it lasted.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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