Do Online Retailers Pay the Federal Tax?: The Federal Excise Tax is currently $3.90 per carton. Black market dealers exempt themselves; smugglers of counterfeit cigarettes exempt themselves; “off shore” retailers, in many instances, exempt themselves. Except in very few special circumstances, there are no legal tax free cigarettes sold in the United States.
Fire Safe Cigarettes: First, you may as well know that “FSC” does not actually stand for “Fire Safe Cigarettes”, although through common usage over the past several years, everyone knows what you’re talking about when you use the phrase. As found in state statutes, it really stands for Fire Standard Compliant, and the “FSC” designation near the Bar Code on a pack is now the accepted marking. There is no true “fire safe cigarette”, and as long as we smoke them by setting tobacco afire, there never will be. You can, indeed, set other things to burning by touching them with a lit cigarette, be it FSC or not. One can make the argument, however, that an FSC cigarette is somewhat safer because it will stop burning if left in an ashtray for a period of time without the smoker taking a drag on it. The technology used to create the “self-extinguishing” feature is relatively simple: The paper used is made with extra “bands” – or, as they have commonly been called, “speed bumps” – so that when the fire of the burning tobacco reaches one it will burn out unless a drag is taken to assist the fire’s travel beyond the “bump”. Many smokers strongly dislike FSC cigarettes. Some claim an extra harshness to the smoke, thereby causing problems such as a dry, hacking cough and throat irritation; some say that because they must increase the frequency at which they would normally take a drag, the cigarettes are, in effect, causing them to take in more of the “bad stuff” associated with smoking; there are also claims that the extra paper (and chemicals?) add more toxins to an already unhealthy habit. On the other hand, many smokers have made the switch without even realizing their favorite brands are now FSC. Some anti-FSC people are trying to make their voices heard through a petition. You can learn about it by visiting Non-FSC Petition.
What About State Taxes?: Online tobacco shops that are located on Native American lands argue that they are not required to charge state cigarette taxes or report sales to state tax departments. Tobacco shops that are not located on Native American Reservations tend to argue that the sale takes place in the state in which their shop is located and the state cigarette tax in that state is paid. State governments claim that the Jenkins Act requires online cigarette retailers to report the names and addresses of customers. However, in an article in NewsChoice Online News, officials state that of 175 mail-order or online retailers of cigarettes, only 5% reported names and addresses of customers to state tax authorities.
Had Enough From the Anti-Smoking Groups?: If you are tired of high tobacco taxes, please e-mail your congressman and senator and tell them so. You can find their e-mail address at Congress.org. Remind them that about 25% of all voting Americans are smokers. Tell them that you believe in free e-Commerce and that you are writing to ask them to repeal the Jenkins Act. If they don’t write back, consider voting for someone else at the next election. You can see whether your representative is tobacco-friendly by clicking on the map at the right.
Are Non-FSC Cigarettes Still Available? The answer – for today – is “yes”. There is one retailer – NMC Smoke Shop – listed on our home page that advertises the availability of Non-FSC brands. There are no Federal standards for FSC Cigarettes but to date, all states that have passed their own requirements — and most have done so — have used those in the New York law. It is likely that all will join the FSC bandwagon before long. If you would like more information about this issue, there are a number of websites available to you. A few that we found are: Tobacco Facts; Quit smoking.
What Are Duty-Free Cigarettes?: Duty-free cigarettes are made in the United Stated for overseas markets. Typically, these products have different packaging, promotional offers, and blend formulations than the corresponding brands that are manufactured for sale in the United States. For instance, duty-free Marlboros do not contain “Marlboro Miles.” Since January, 2000, it has been illegal to “reimport” these cigarettes to the U.S. Recently, some retailers have applied the term “duty free” to American brands that are manufactured overseas “under the authority of” the American manufacturer. Current U.S. law makes it illegal for anyone but the trademark owner to import these products into the United States.
Why Do Cigarettes Cost So Much?: The increase in cigarette prices in recent years is due mainly to two things: (1) high state cigarette taxes and the multibillion dollar tobacco settlement against the major cigarette manufacturers. Want to see how a carton of cigarettes can cost $38.83 in California? Check out this Pie Chart. You can still find cheap cigarettes if you are willing to buy brands from manufacturers who were not part of the tobacco settlement and if you buy from online retailers who do not charge high state taxes. On our home page, you can find many brands that cost less than $15 per carton.
Can I Save Money by Buying Cigarettes Online?: That depends on two things: where you live and what brand you are willing to smoke. If you live in a High Cigarette-Tax State, you can save by buying online, even if you smoke a premium brand such as Marlboro, Winston, or Merit. If you live in a Low Cigarette-Tax State, then you can probably buy premium brands at local discount stores more cheaply than you can online. For instance, take a look at the prices that Kentucky residents pay at a discount chain store, Cigarette Outlet, with several locations in the state.
Shipping Outside the United States:Most of the retailers listed on our home page will ship only to addresses within the United States. There may be a few, however, that will ship orders to other countries. Since this depends a great deal on the destination country – and is subject to frequent change – you should check with the retailer to determine his current policy prior to placing an order.
Tar and Nicotine Yields: The Federal Trade Commission sometimes publishes a report about the tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide yields of various brands. See 2000 Report on Tar, Nicotine, and Carbon Monoxide, Covering 1998. This report is in “pdf” form, so you need to be able to download pdf files to read it. The report contains information about 1294 brands. Of these the lowest in tar are Carlton, Cambridge, Merit, and Now. The highest in tar are all nonfilter versions of Basic, Camel, Chesterfield, Commander, Lucky Strike, Old Gold, Pyramid, and Tareyton.
History of Tobacco: Tobacco has been used in the Americas for several hundred years. To see a time-line of the early history of tobacco in America, click on the picture at the right. This time-line traces the history of tobacco in America up to 1595, when the first book about tobacco was published.
Legal Use: We are committed to legal use of the Internet to sell cigarettes at discount prices. It is not legal to sell cigarettes to minors, to buy cigarettes for minors, or to resell cigarettes without possessing your state’s appropriate license(s) to do so. Although we do not have the capability of monitoring misuse of any of the services listed at our site, we would appreciate hearing about any such misuses.