ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Thursday his office is suing a group of tobacco retailers for selling cigarettes online.
Schneiderman said the websites offer cheap, easy access to cigarettes and prey on youth.
He said the six website operators are part of a "disturbing trend" that provides teens too easy of access to tobacco, and encourages a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in state revenues.
"These vendors not only broke the law prohibiting the sale of tobacco online, but also endangered our children by making cigarettes easier and cheaper to purchase," Schneiderman said in a statement.
"With thousands of children becoming addicted smokers each year, and hundreds of thousands more expected to die because of smoking-related illnesses, our fight for a healthier New York is not over. This office has a proud history of standing up to corrupt tobacco corporations, and as Attorney General I will continue to stop those, no matter how big or powerful they might be, who put profits before the health and safety of our communities, and the laws of this state."
According to the attorney general's complaints, the named Internet vendors accepted orders from New York state consumers and delivered the cigarettes to New York state addresses. The six vendors are:
- Totally Tickled Limited, Inc. for discountcigarettesdomestic.com, Kentucky Smokes, and David White;
- Anton Limited for INeedSmoke.com, and Kyle Williams;
- Cigarettes-online.biz and John Sparkle;
- Best Products Solution Limited for http://cigoutlet.net/;
- Best Products Solution Limited for Smokin4free.com; and
- Best Products Solution Limited for cigoutlet.biz.
New York State Public Health Law prohibits the shipment of cigarettes to any person in the state unless that person is licensed as a cigarette tax agent or wholesale dealer, Schneiderman says.
Four of the attorney general's complaints further charge that the Internet vendors violated Executive Law by repeating these illegal sales on more than one occasion. The State is seeking fines of up to $5,000 for each violation and injunction against future sales.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24,100 children under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year. An estimated 389,000 kids now under the age of 18 in New York will die prematurely from smoking, the agency said.
From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.