Cig Taxes Will COST States Over $5 Billion This Year
By PETER FRICKE
Tobacco companies and anti-smoking groups alike say that high cigarette taxes will cost governments billions of dollars this year as smugglers step in to meet consumer demand.
A study conducted by the Tax Foundation in February compares data from 2006 and 2013, and “finds that smuggling rates generally rise in states after they adopt large cigarette tax increases.” (RELATED: Cigarette Tax Increases Not Producing Desired Revenues)
“Public policies often have unintended consequences that outweigh their benefits,” the foundation explains, and “one consequence of high state cigarette tax rates has been increased smuggling as criminals procure discounted packs from low-tax states to sell in high-tax states.”
In New York, for instance, cigarette taxes have increased 190 percent since 2006, while smuggling has risen 62 percent. New York leads the nation in both categories, with a tax rate of $4.35 per pack and untaxed cigarettes making up an estimated 58 percent of the overall market. (RELATED: Study: Smugglers Help Smokers Evade High Cigarette Taxes)
The high rates of cigarette tax-evasion in New York and other high-tax states not only undermines the purpose of those taxes, but actually costs them around $5 billion per year in lost tax revenue, according to The New Tobacco Road, a website run by the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.
The claim is buttressed by a number of studies conducted in recent years by think tanks, including the Mackinac Center and the Tax Foundation, as well as research from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which projects that revenue losses will total roughly $5.5 billion in the U.S. this year.
Naturally, assertions made by the tobacco industry – or any industry, for that matter – are worth taking with a grain of salt, but in this case, they are seemingly vindicated by some of the industry’s staunchest opponents.(RELATED: Cigarette Taxes May Help Finance Terrorism)
The Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), a coalition of anti-smoking groups organized by the World Health Organization to promote tobacco control globally, estimates that, “illicit trade in cigarettes represents approximately 10.7 percent of global sales, or 600 billion cigarettes annually,” and reduces government revenues by between $40 billion and $50 billion per year.
The two lobbies even offer similar prescriptions for dealing with the problem of cigarette smuggling, with both groups urging harsher punishments and stronger enforcement measures. (RELATED: Illinois Boost Cigarette Tax, Police Promise to Hammer Evaders)
The FCA eschews specifics, calling simply for “a global effort … to ensure the application of appropriate penalties and effective enforcement strategies against all forms of illicit trade.” (ANTLE: Is Selling Untaxed Cigarettes Now A Capital Offense?)
New Tobacco Road, similarly, argues that, “The cost and risk of trafficking in tobacco products must be raised substantially,” and recommends imposing significant fines and penalties on smugglers, along with allocating more resources to enforcement. (Coulter: Dying For A Cigarette In New York)
In New York City in July 2014, Eric Garner died while being arrested for selling allegedly smuggled cigarettes.
New Info Shows that Rising Cigarette Taxes Helps Finance Terrorism
April 14, 2015
By Onan Coca
Actions have consequences. I think that is probably the wisdom to take from this latest research on the impact of cigarette sin taxes on the war on terror. Apparently, the rising taxes have forced many smokers to purchase their cancer sticks from the black market… which is helping to fund the very terrorists we are fighting.
So here’s a suggestion… cut taxes and take back some of that terrorist revenue.
Raising tobacco taxes is often seen as a way for states to boost revenue, but research shows the primary effect is to promote cigarette smuggling, some of which helps fund terrorist groups.
“The higher that revenue-hungry politicians raise tobacco taxes, the more profit smugglers can make,” claims Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs for Americans for Tax Reform, in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal Sunday.
An unintended consequence of such tax hikes, Gleason says, is therefore to encourage cigarette smuggling, which also “[directs] some money toward nefarious causes” such as terrorism.
In recent years, both the Washington Post and former New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly have said there is evidence that smugglers are funneling millions of dollars from illegal cigarette sales to known terrorist groups, including al-Qaida.
Gleason notes recent cigarette tax hikes New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., among other places, have produced far less revenue than anticipated, and in some cases even correlated with an overall decrease in the amount collected.
In fact, he says, “Of the 32 state tobacco tax increases that went into effect between 2009 and 2013, only three met or exceeded revenue projections, according to industry data.”
In part, this may result from smokers reacting to the higher prices by reducing consumption, but Gleason suggests that a more significant factor is simply that “high tobacco taxes inevitably induce some low-income smokers to turn to black markets, where they can buy cigarettes at a fraction of the price.”
A recent study conducted by the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research center, supports this view, finding that “smuggling rates generally rise in states after they adopt large cigarette tax increases.” Of the 17 states with a net outflow of smuggled cigarettes in 2013, just two imposed taxes of more than $1 per pack, and both of those states-Pennsylvania and New Hampshire-are located near neighbors with relatively high cigarette taxes.
In contrast, of the 15 states in which smuggled cigarettes accounted for 20 percent or more of total consumption, just two impose taxes of less than $1.50 per pack, while eight tax cigarettes at $2 or more per pack. “Public policies often have unintended consequences that outweigh their benefits,” the Foundation explains. “One consequence of high state cigarette tax rates has been increased smuggling as criminals procure discounted packs from low-tax states to sell in high-tax states.”
In New York, for instance, cigarette taxes have increased 190 percent since 2006, while smuggling has risen 62 percent. New York leads the nation in both categories, with a tax rate of $4.35 per pack and untaxed cigarettes making up an estimated 58 percent of the overall market.
The issue of cigarette smuggling in New York rose to prominence recently with the case of Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by police officers who accused him of selling “loosies,” or single cigarettes, from packs without tax stamps.
Various policy responses have been suggested to address the issue of cigarette smuggling, ranging from “differential tax rates near low-tax jurisdictions” to “cracking down on tribal reservations that sell tax-free cigarettes,” but the underlying problem remains, according to the Tax Foundation, because “high cigarette taxes amount to a ?price prohibition’ of the product in many U.S. states.”
Protesters to Trade Loose Cigarettes for Donations in Times Square Protest
January 10, 2015
By Cassandra Rules
New York, NY – Outrage over Officer Daniel Pantaleo walking free after killing Eric Garner continues in New York City and protests will be continuing this Saturday.
This time its The Manhattan Libertarian Party jumping into action. The group intends to pass out single cigarettes in Times Square in exchange for donations. All money received will be given to Project Hospitality, a Staten Island food bank.
The protest is scheduled to begin Saturday, January 10, at 1pm at Broadway & W 47th St, on the North end of Times Square.
Paul cites high cigarette taxes in death
By Lucy McCalmont
Republican Sen. Rand Paul says that politicians and taxes are to blame for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.
“Obviously, the individual circumstances are important, but I think it’s also important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes, so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive,” the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.” He continued, “But then some politician also had to direct the police to say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.’”
A New York City grand jury decided Wednesday not to return an indictment in the July death of Garner. The 43-year-old father of six died after being placed in a chokehold by a city police officer who was arresting him on suspicion of selling untaxed cigarettes. The grand jury’s decision sparked protests in New York City and an announcement from Attorney General Eric Holder that the Justice Department is launching as separate federal investigation into Garner’s death.
Paul said police are put in “a difficult situation,” but added there is “no excuse” for Garner’s death.
“For someone to die over breaking that law, there really is no excuse for it,” Paul said. “But I do blame the politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws.”
Rand Paul blames Eric Garner’s death on high NYC cigarette tax
December 4, 2014
By Sara Fischer, CNN
In 2010, the New York State Legislature passed a law raising taxes on cigarettes purchased in New York City to $5.85 per pack of 20 cigarettes.
Fast-forward four years: A U.S. senator is blaming the politician that created that law for the chokehold death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, by a white police officer in New York City in July 2014.
“I do blame the politician,” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, explained on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” “We put our police in a dangerous situation with bad laws.”
Garner died after a police officer put him in a chokehold while trying to arrest him for selling tax-free cigarettes. The police officers at the time were unaware of Garner’s pre-existing health conditions that likely helped lead to his death.
On Wednesday, Paul said Garner’s death would have been prevented if the law creating New York City’s high cigarette taxes — the highest in the country — wasn’t created.
Yes, Stupid Laws Help Kill People
DECEMBER 4, 2014
By David Harsanyi
After news of the baffling decision by the New York grand jury not to indict a police officer in the killing of Eric Garner, I sent out a (slightly) hyperbolic tweet that wondered why Americans would want to entrust their free speech and health care to an institution that will kill you over failure to pay a cigarette tax.
If they can kill you over a cigarette tax, why would you trust them to run the internet, regulate your speech and choose your health care?
Listen Up, Liberals: Make Everything Illegal, Create More Eric Garners
Dec. 5, 2014
By Robby Soave
In comparison to the Michael Brown shooting, the death of Eric Garner-and the similar decision not to indict the cop who killed him-has drawn outrage from across the political spectrum. Many conservatives, including Breitbart’s John Nolte,The Federalist’s Sean Davis, and The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis, agreed with anti-police-brutality libertarians and liberals that Garner’s killer should have faced charges. The consensus is that the video evidence definitively established wrongdoing on the part of the officer (unlike the Brown case, which relied on conflicting eyewitness testimony).
But because that’s no fun, right and left had to find some way to tear each other apart over this. And so the contention-made by some libertarians and conservatives-that punitive cigarette taxes are a contributing factor in Garner’s death has driven many on the left into a fit of rage.
Some background on that contention, courtesy Reason’s J.D. Tuccille:
Here we have Garner, a guy allegedly selling loosies-single cigarettes-which are a perfectly legal product. Why is he supposedly selling loosies? Because New York officials inflict on their long-suffering subjects the highest cigarette tax in the country at at $4.35 per pack, plus another $1.50 levied in the city itself. It’s not a popular tax, with smuggled smokes making up 60.9 percent of the market. So the powers that be unleash the cops to enhance revenue by tracking down shipments of smuggled cigarettes and, on occasion, putting the occasional small-time street vendor in an illegal chokehold.
On his show last night, Jon Stewart mocked Sen. Rand Paul for making that point. When asked about Garner’s death, Paul said: “Some politician put a tax of $5.85 on cigarettes, so they have driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive, but then some politician also had to direct the police to say, hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.”
Stewart’s response: “What the fuck are you talking about?”
BuzzFeed’s Adam Serwer also criticized the point (though more kindly), in a Twitter argument with Reason’s Scott Shackford. “I think ‘it’s the cigarette tax’ is comforting because then we don’t have to deal with the racism, which we know isn’t getting fixed easily,” wrote Serwer.
Media Matters was as nasty as could have been expected, publishing an email update on the matter under the vindictive headline: “Right-Wing Media Parrot Rand Paul’s Absurd Assertion That Cigarette Taxes Are To Blame For Eric Garner’s Death.”
And the most eloquent critic of the cigarette argument, The New Republic’s Danny Vinik, wrote:
In other words, Eric Garner is not dead because New York City imposes high cigarette taxes. He’s dead because a cop put him in a chokehold, in violation of NYPD rules, and held his head against ground. To their credit, conservatives have widely denounced the grand jury’s decision. If they want to argue against cigarette taxes, though, they should make that full argument-including that the law can cause violent confrontations between police and civilians. But pointing to Garner’s death as evidence that those taxes are bad policy isn’t meaningful.
Look, police brutality has many underlying causes. One of them is undoubtedly racism; black people are disproportionately arrested and imprisoned. An encounter between a cop and a civilian is more likely to be unpleasant if the civilian is black. In fact, it’s more likely to occur in the first place if the civilian is black, because many cops racially profile suspects.
Another cause is the police incentive structure. Police have far more legal protections than non-police. They can get away with so much more. Indeed, while the cop who killed Garner evaded indictment, a civilian who recorded the incident on his phone was indicted on a separate weapons charge. It’s difficult-often impossible-to punish police for bad behavior, which gives the bad apples free rein to abuse people.
You know what’s also a cause? Overcriminalization. And that one is on you, supporters of the regulatory super state. When a million things are highly regulated or outright illegal-from cigarettes to sodas of a certain size, unlicensed lemonade stands, raw milk, alcohol (for teens), marijuana, food trucks, taxicab alternatives, and even fishing supplies (in schools)-the unrestrained, often racist police force has a million reasons to pick on people. Punitive cigarette taxes, which disproportionately fall on the backs of the poorest of the poor, contribute to police brutality in the exact same way that the war on drugs does. Liberals readily admit the latter; why is the former any different?
If you want all these things to be illegal, you must want-by the very definition of the wordillegal-the police to force people not to have them. Government is a gang of thugs who are paid to push us around. It’s their job.
A well-meaning liberal who doesn’t want people to smoke but also doesn’t want the government to kill them for doing so has plenty of other options, by the way. There are countless organizations and products dedicated to helping people quit cigarettes voluntarily.
But anybody who wants it to be a matter of law must accept that resistance will be met with fines, prison, and death. As Bloomberg View columnist and law professor Stephen L. Carter put it:
It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law. Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right.
There are many painful lessons to be drawn from the Garner tragedy, but one of them, sadly, is the same as the advice I give my students on the first day of classes: Don’t ever fight to make something illegal unless you’re willing to risk the lives of your fellow citizens to get your way.
Any subsequent conversation about ending police brutality should include strategies to combat racism, reforming the criminal justice system and police incentive structure… andtaming the maniacal leviathan that is the modern regulatory state.
The Role that Obama’s Runaway Bureaucracy Played in the Death of Eric Garner
December 3, 2014
By Bryan Preston
Before anyone jumps the gun and suggests that I’m blaming Barack Obama for the death of Eric Garner, read on. I’m not.
As New York City prepares for protests – hopefully peaceful – after the grand jury’s decision not to indict in the death of Eric Garner, it’s worth a look at how we got here.
Garner reportedly had many prior arrests, which means that he was known to the NYPD and may have been known to the officers on the scene who took him down the day he died, July 17, 2014.
Why did they decide to take him down in the first place? That’s not clear even in the video. The video of his death is unfortunately too short, and starts after the confrontation has already started. The narrator says he is being “beaten up” just for “breaking up a fight,” but that appears to be inaccurate. Garner starts off in the video showing anger that the police have confronted him repeatedly, over time, not just that day. He does not appear to be threatening anyone, and according to reports had in fact just stopped a fight between other people. So it’s not clear why the police elected to use force on him. A citation would probably have sufficed.
But a citation for what?
Garner was reportedly selling “loosies,” individual cigarettes taken out of their original packaging. That’s a crime?
Yep. Since 2010, that’s a crime, sayeth the unaccountable bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration.
An FDA rule issued on June 22, 2010 – well within the Obama era, under a president who has unleashed bureaucracy on the entire country – mandates that individual cigarettes cannot be sold without their original packaging. You must not sell an unhealthy product that everyone knows is unhealthy unless it’s still in the polluting box that it originally came in.
If you sell cigarettes, you must comply with the following bullet points. Note the bold.
?Check photo ID of everyone appearing under age 27 who attempts to purchase cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, or smokeless tobacco.
?Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco to anyone age 18 or older. **
?Only sell cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, and smokeless tobacco in a direct, face-to-face exchange. ***
?Do NOT break open cigarette or smokeless tobacco packages to sell products in smaller amounts.
?Do NOT sell cigarette packages containing fewer than 20 cigarettes.
?Do NOT sell single cigarettes, also called “loosies”.
?Do NOT give away free samples of cigarettes.
?Do NOT give away free samples of smokeless tobacco except from a “qualified adult-only facility.”
?Do NOT sell flavored cigarettes or flavored cigarette tobacco (other than menthol).
* This is only a summary of the laws. For the full list of federal laws, visit: www.fda.gov/BreakTheChain.
Selling and buying loosies is about avoiding taxes. Garner was being a fringe entrepreneur. That’s not to say that he’s a hero. He appears to have been a guy on the make. What he was doing was illegal and he knew that. None of that justifies the force used on him, but it’s important to keep in mind that the 43 year old was well overweight and actually died not of choking, but of a heart attack. Obviously the heart attack was influenced by the arrest. Could the police have predicted that taking him down would end up killing him? Intent to kill doesn’t appear to be in play in the video. That rules murder out. But there will be a federal investigation.
The strongest charge that the grand jury could possibly have handed down to the officer was some form of manslaughter or negligent homicide, and that might have been appropriate. The force used looks excessive. But the grand jury decided against that after reviewing the evidence, which means a jury was even less likely to convict. That doesn’t mean that they’re right. Seems like a marginal call either way. Seems like a bad call for the police to take him down by force. I don’t see why they couldn’t have given him a ticket, unless there are relevant events that we don’t know about that happened prior to the video.
It also is a bad call to let the FDA start creating new crimes, but President Obama has made a bad habit of turning the government loose on the whole country, and then daring courts to stop him. He’s a terrible president that way, and disrespects the rule of law and the rights of individuals to have any kind of certainty where we all stand with respect to the law at any given moment. Obama’s unleashing of the bureaucracy is among his most detestable actions. The next president has got to work with Congress to rein the unruly and power-hungry federal bureaucracy back in, or we all really are going to become felons in one way or another. We all will be subject to capricious and arbitrary law enforcement, which is really lawlessness and oppression.
Eric Garner died protesting (or evading, take your pick) taxes, along with violating the diktats of a bureaucratic government that has grown too remote from the people and too oppressive not just over black men, whose lives do matter and is among the reasons that the pro-life movement exists, but over all Americans. We are all subjects to the bureaucracy’s whims, and less and less true citizens as the bureaucracy grows more powerful. Garner didn’t need to die for that, he shouldn’t have died for that, but the officers involved aren’t guilty of murder.
May the protests remain peaceful.
4 hurt as party floor caves in
February 5, 2012
NJ woman chides NYC smoker, gets stabbed with pen
Apr 20, 2011
NEW YORK – A New Jersey woman was stabbed in the face with a pen on a New York City subway train after she tried to stop a man from lighting a cigarette.
The assault occurred on a crowded No. 3 train near the Chambers Street station during Tuesday's morning rush.
Witnesses told the Daily News and the New York Post that an argument quickly escalated when Evelyn Seeger asked the man not to smoke. The witnesses say two riders were trying to restrain the man when he pulled out a pen and slashed Seeger's face.
Seeger, of Nutley, N.J., was treated at a hospital and released.
Police charged the man with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
March 14, 2010
Health Dept. to yank permits of nightclubs that scoff at New York City's cigarette smoking ban
January 27th 2010
BY Samuel Goldsmith, DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
It may be closing time for some of Manhattan's hottest nightclubs, where the young and hip are arrogantly flouting the city's smoking ban.
The Health Department is moving to shutter five A-list clubs after an undercover sting showed they let their high-flying clientele light up inside again and again.
The velvet-rope violators include TheBox on the lower East Side and Chelsea's M2 Ultra Lounge, which just last week hosted Sean (Diddy) Combs' blowout bash for his son's 16th birthday, officials said.
The clubs are scheduled to appear today before a city tribunal, where officials will try to yank their food and beverage permits – a fatal blow that would put the kibosh on alcohol sales.
The move is by far the city's most aggressive attempt to crack down on bars and clubs that turn a not-so-blind eye when their customers crave a smoke.
"We looked at our data and felt like these businesses continue to flaunt that they break the law," said Daniel Kass, acting deputy commissioner for environmental health. "They pay fines as a cost of doing business. We needed a new approach."
Kass dispatched teams of sharply dressed spies to the clubs, where they nursed drinks – and looked for smokers.
"We went out and stumbled upon some pretty flagrant disregards for the law, and decided we weren't interested in settling with these establishments," Kass said.
After the ban was implemented in 2003, bars busted for smoking were fined $200 to $2,000.
Not this time.
A city judge will decide whether the Health Department has enough evidence to pull the clubs' permits for "willful and continuous disregard" of the ban.
"We think we have a good case," said department lawyer Thomas Merrill. "I think we will shut them down."
Other clubs on the hot seat are The Imperial in the Flatiron District, Southside Night Club in Little Italy and Lit Lounge in the East Village.
A handful of others will be named by the city in the coming weeks.
The most egregious offender is M2 Ultra Lounge, the department said. Undercover inspectors found dozens of smokers in plain sight during five recent visits – and even bathroom attendants selling loose cigarettes for $2.
"The cigarettes are out in the open, you just have to ask for one," said one inspector.
M2 Ultra Lounge owner Joey Morrissey said he gains nothing by having smoking in his club and has tried everything to stop it except take away cigarettes or toss out offenders.
"We can kick them out, but we would be kicking people out all night long and starting altercations," Morrissey said. "You don't want to risk having fights."
Morrissey said the city can do more to help, like ticketing people who smoke at the club instead of punishing the establishment.
"You're not going to find someone in a club this big," he said of the 35,000-square-foot space.
Other owners simply denied that smoking goes on in their clubs or said they would not comment on the issue.
"I think this is a witch hunt and there are a lot more things that affect our city than people occasionally lighting up," said Southside owner Tom Martignetti.
The club's Web site has several pictures that seem to show clients smoking at the bar.
"Obviously we have a no-smoking policy," Martignetti said. "There's no smoking here."
Following Expose, Smoking Crackdown Begins Anew
by Scott Solish
The Privacy of Smoke
Violations of city's smoking ban rise by a third
By Marlene Naanes
Motnyk said he does not mind the ban because smoking less saves him money, but he complained about how the regulation is making bar owners treat their smoking customers.
192 Grand St.
13431 35th Ave.
652 E. 187th Street
131-66 40th Road
2008 Williamsbridge Road
2403 31st St.
6310 Woodhaven Blvd
220-27 Jamaica Ave.
542 W. 27th St.
131-37 A 41st Ave.
2008 917 14,399 6.4 percent
2007 694 20,006 3.5 percent
2006 481 23,429 2.1 percent
2005 437 25,471 1.7 percent
2004 3,091 26,765 11.5 percent
2003 2,268 21,781 10.4 percent
Woman falls 4 stories from midtown building – but lives
NY Daily News
April 27th 2008
?(NYC) — A 34-year-old woman smoking a cigarette out of a window in midtown lost her balance and plunged four stories – but survived – officials said.
The woman, who was not identified, suffered head trauma but was listed in stable condition at St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan after the fall just before 4 a.m., police said.
"She was smoking out the window and fell," said Jake Podhradsky, 23, who lives in the fourth-floor apartment on W. 37th St., where the woman was visiting her brother from Delaware.
FDNY officials said the woman fell into a narrow alleyway between two buildings and was conscious when emergency medical technicians arrived.
"She was apologizing to the EMTs," said witness Eric Nicastro, 27. "It's unbelievable to fall four floors and be about as good as you could be."
March 31, 2008
"I used to like living in New York. There was diversity, excitement, opportunity, tolerance and freedom. However, in the 18 years I've been a New Yorker, I've watched the city change into a city of over-policing, prohibition, persecution and sterilisation that neither makes sense nor appeals to me anymore.
"I have survived and tolerated so much in this city – crime, evil landlords, high rents, a crash in the local economy, 9/11 – but the smoking ban, introduced in 2003, was the final straw."
The Free Society blog
CIG BAN? WHAT CIG BAN?
CITY HOT SPOTS SMOKING AGAIN
May 27, 2007
Queens bar owner accused of $100 bribery over smoking violation
By MARCUS FRANKLIN
NYPD DAILY BLOTTER
By JAMIE SCHRAM
September 28, 2007
An elderly Sheepshead Bay man slashed his roommate after an argument over cigarette smoke got out of hand, authorities said yesterday.
Vitally Zhikharav, 70, confronted the 35-year- old victim smoking in the yard of their East 13th Street home near Avenue Z at 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, sources said.
Zhikharav complained about the smoke, but the victim allegedly blew him off.
Zhikharav allegedly became enraged, grabbed a knife and slashed the victim in the stomach, inflicting minor injuries.
The victim called 911, and Zhikharav was arrested and charged with assault, menacing and weapon possession.
By VALERIE BAUMAN
September 23 2007
ALBANY, N.Y. — Smokers, already pushed outside in New York, may be getting more grief than usual for lighting up in public places thanks to a new ad campaign designed to discourage smoking around children.
August 17, 2007
By Howard Schwach
A Manhattan man on his way to the beach with his boogie board, angered that another subway rider held a lit cigarette, pulled a knife and chased the smoker towards the beach, police say. Police sources told The Wave that Warren Lavan, of 169 Marks Avenue in Manhattan, came out of the Beach 90 Street subway station at about 10 a.m. on Wednesday, August 15.
August 16, 2007
Saugerties – A clerk has been accused of stealing money and cigarettes from a Mobil service station on the New York State Thruway in Saugerties and reporting a bogus burglary to police to cover the crime.
Police said Danielle Nicklaus, 19, of Saugerties, reported a burglary at the Thruway’s Malden Service Area at 3 a.m. Sunday. The proceeds from the previous five shifts had been stolen, as well as cartons of cigarettes from a nearby storage room. On investigation, police said they suspected Nicklaus had staged the burglary with another former employee of the store. The majority of the money and cigarettes were recovered.
Nicklaus and Donald Hillie Jr., 23, of Klackatom, were each charged with third-degree burglary, a felony.
Nicklaus and Hillie were arraigned and sent to Ulster County Jail on $10,000 bail each.
May 27th, 2007
By Angela Montefinise
While Mayor Bloomberg tries to make the world safe from greenhouse gases, his cigarette ban is going up in smoke.
Scores of trendy clubs and neighborhood pubs across the five boroughs have become smoking speakeasies, where bartenders and bouncers regularly ignore the prohibition launched in 2003.
The Post spotted scofflaw smokers openly puffing away in a dozen bars and clubs in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island during the past few weeks – including celebrity hangouts Bungalow 8, Tenjune, Butter, Marquee, Plumm and Guest House.
The violations The Post witnessed include:
* A bartender and 15 patrons smoking all night inside Doyle's Corner bar in Astoria on the rainy night of May 16. The same scenario was witnessed several weeks earlier.
* A half-dozen hipster patrons at Brooklyn Ale House in Williamsburg smoking openly at the bar and at back tables early Saturday morning.
* A bartender at Boat in Brooklyn saying, "It's 12:30. You can smoke now," as they passed out makeshift ashtrays last Wednesday night.
Earlier, she told a patron to stop smoking, but after her announcement, a number of patrons started up again and the bar was filled with smokers for another hour.
* Dozens of smokers puffing on the dance floor and in the VIP area at the Marquee club on back-to-back nights as security guards looked the other way last week.
* At least 10 people smoking in Chelsea's small, exclusive club Bungalow 8 Thursday night. A security guard walked past the smokers to tell The Post, "You can't take pictures in here."
* Half the patrons of the Annadale Inn in Staten Island lighting up in the wee hours after the bartender closed the window gate to keep out prying eyes several weeks ago.
* Several smokers blowing smoke in the small basement of Lit Lounge on Second Avenue last week.
"They used to" enforce the smoking ban, Brett, a Marquee regular, told The Post last week. "But they barely pay attention now."
Smoking has been prohibited in bars, nightclubs and restaurants since March 2003, after the Bloomberg initiative became law in the fall of 2002.
Establishments are responsible for prohibiting smoking indoors, putting up "no smoking" signs and eliminating all ashtrays. Smokers are not punished.
Fines of up to $2,000 can be issued for every violation, and after three in one year businesses could lose their licenses. From April 2006 to March 2007, nine businesses were permanently shut due to smoking.
The city Department of Health said most businesses have been compliant, although there are violators. "We can't be everywhere all the time," a spokeswoman said.
Agency statistics show 199 establishments hit with 542 violations from April 2006 to March 2007, compared to 162 establishments getting 258 violations in the prior 12-month period. The number of complaints dropped from about 3,000 to 2,000 from last year to this year.
"It's a lose-lose," said an employee of a popular club on West 27th Street. "If we send people outside to smoke, people in the neighborhood got annoyed about the noise. If we let them smoke inside, we get hit with fines."
Allowing smoking indoors is "the lesser of two evils," he said.
Katie Browne, 26, a New Jersey paralegal and frequent clubgoer, said she has noticed a rise in smoking at nightspots over the past year.
"I hate it. My clothes are back to smelling like smoke, and it's gross," she said. "But there's no doubt about it – smoking's back."
Additional reporting by James Fanelli and Elizabeth Wolff? email@example.com