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Tag: New York

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Smoking bans move further into the open

| May 14, 2013

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that New York’s smoke-free areas will be expanded to state parks and historic sites, according to a report by Jess String for The Legislative Gazette.

The expansion will take effect in time for the 2013 peak summer season.

Violators will be liable to a fine of up to $250, plus surcharges if they fail to comply.
“Our state parks embody the rich, natural beauty that New York has to offer, and our residents should be able to enjoy them free of pollution for [sic] second hand smoke,” said Cuomo.

“Today’s announcement of the expansion of smoke-free zones in our state parks is an important step forward in ensuring New York’s families can enjoy our great outdoors smoke-free, in a healthy environment.”

String wrote that, according to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s website, the smoke-free areas did not encompass the entirety of the parks, but were limited to swimming areas, beach areas, bathhouses, concessions, pavilions, shelters, playgrounds, picnic shelters and places where educational programs were conducted.

However, outdoor historic parks were almost completely smoke-free, as were all state parks in New York City.

Easy street: smoke smugglers net nearly $2 million a truckload

| April 19, 2013

Wanna make a quick $1,944,000? Buy a truckload of cigarettes in Virginia and sell them in New York.

Yeah, it’s illegal. But that’s how much can be made from selling a tractor trailer’s worth (that’s 800 cases, each holding 600 packs of cigarettes) of low-tax Virginia cigarettes in high-tax New York, based on estimates from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

And that’s exactly what criminals are doing, according to a story posted on CNN.com

In 2011, more than 60 percent of all cigarettes sold in New York were smuggled in from another state, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free-market think tank. That’s up from about 36 percent in 2006.

It’s not just happening in New York. Mackinac says 15 states have smuggling rates that top 20 percent. Add in counterfeit cigarettes from overseas, and ATF estimates the lost government revenue at more than $5 billion a year.

Mackinac and others pin the blame on rising state taxes, and say things could get even worse if President Obama’s proposed 94-cent-a-pack cigarette tax hike goes through. Anti-smoking groups say the smuggling numbers are inflated, and that the public health benefits of fewer smokers – the ones dissuaded by pricey packs – far outweigh any lost revenue or other effects of smuggling.