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Taxing Tobacco Issues

June 28, 2016

Arguably, no state in the country has more convoluted tobacco laws to challenge both consumers and merchants than New York.

By Jim Calvin

Here in New York, what remains of the beleaguered tobacco category in convenience stores is under constant attack by health advocates and regulators who resemble hyenas feasting on a zebra carcass.

The 677% spike in state cigarette excise tax during the 2000s—which succeeded in chasing more than half of our cigarette customers into the arms of low-tax street dealers, lower-tax border states and no-tax tribal outlets—has been followed in the 2010s by a barrage of local regulatory activity at the county, city and town levels across the Empire State.

In part, regulations dictate: let’s elevate the purchase age to 21. Let’s restrict where e-cigarette users can vape. Let’s force stores to get a local tobacco license on top of the state license they already have. Let’s ban tobacco sales within half a mile of a school. Let’s make stores hide their tobacco displays.

Read the full article.