As part of a continuing effort to keep residents’ lungs pink and healthy (as well as make as much money as possible from those who choose to inhale), the city of New York has filed a lawsuit against a Chinatown establishment that sells tobacco and rolling papers and encourages customers to roll their own packs in the store. The average price for a self-created cigarette pack? Four to six dollars.
“By selling illegally low-priced cigarettes,” said the lawsuit, “defendants not only interfere with the collection of city cigarette taxes, they also impair the city’s smoking cessation programs and impair individual efforts at smoking reduction, thereby imposing higher health care costs on the city and injuring public health.”
(That last part might ring truer if New Yorkers were still allowed to smoke in public spaces.) But by focusing on these “roll your own cigarette” joints–which actually fall into a legal gray area–the city has overlooked the actually illegal underground cigarette trade in New York. Read More