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City takes aim at Mastic cigarettes

Unkechaug cigarette shop in Mastic

Unkechaug cigarette shop in Mastic Credit: James Carbone

New York City has fired another legal salvo in its effort to stop the sale of untaxed cigarettes at smoke shops on the Unkechaug tribe’s reservation in Mastic.

This time Mayor Bloomberg has targeted a prime supplier of the untaxed cigarettes, King Mountain Tobacco Co., of Washington State.

Bloomberg says the company supplies Mastic-based smoke shops that sell untaxed cigarettes to unlicensed, non-Indian buyers — who then sell the cigarettes in the city.

The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn.

"Sales of untaxed cigarettes deprive the city and state of millions of dollars in lost cigarette tax revenues and undercut public health measures designed to discourage smoking, especially by teenagers," the Bloomberg administration said in a prepared statement.

"Out-of-state manufacturers who evade taxes hurt our law-abiding small businesses and cost New Yorkers millions of dollars in lost tax revenue," Mayor Bloomberg said in the statement.

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