EmpireStateNews.Net: Lung Association applauds proposal to collect tax on cigarettes sold on Native American reservations

ALBANY - The American Lung Association in New York applauded a new proposed regulation unveiled by Governor David Paterson and Acting Commissioner of New York State Department of Tax and Finance Jamie Woodward that would require that tobacco manufacturers sell cigarettes only to licensed stamping agents. The new rule would require stamping agents to certify that they do not do business with tax-free retailers, thereby helping to ensure that taxes on cigarettes sold to non-Indians on state Native American reservations are collected.

"The American Lung Association in New York applauds today's proposed rule which would bring the state closer to finally collecting sales tax revenue on cigarettes sold to non-Indians at the state's Native American reservations," said Scott T. Santarella, President & CEO of the American Lung Association in New York. "Raising the price of cigarettes is the most effective method to decrease kids' smoking. Closing this loophole will immediately have a public health benefit."

The state's continued refusal to enforce existing tax laws has led to a decrease in price of an average pack of cigarettes in New York. Enforcement of these new regulations would encourage more smokers to quit and prevent more children from beginning to smoke.

Santarella said that he hoped that today's announcement would soon be followed by enactment of other tobacco control measures included in Governor Paterson's Executive Budget proposal, including a $1 per pack tax increase on cigarettes sold in New York and restoration of funding for the state's Tobacco Control Program. The proposed regulations will be published in the State Register on March 10th, which will start the 45-day public comment period. They then must be adopted by March 10th, 2011.

"When more than 25,000 New Yorkers die each year as a result of tobacco-related illnesses, we need to do everything we can to discourage smoking," said Santarella. "Today's announcement is another positive step forward."