Do Online Retailers Pay the Federal Excise Tax? The Federal Excise Tax is currently $3.90 per carton. (President Obama has signed in to law a Bill that will raise it to $10.10, effective April 1, 2009.) 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. When Philip Morris first began marking, it used a solid bar above the code as the indicator, but it changed to using the “FSC” mark in 2007. That company began using “banded paper” on its Merit brand in the year 2000. The original industry designation was (and remains) Reduced Cigarette Ignition Propensity (RCIP). 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 (or a blanket) 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 (to be fair), 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. 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 Today and the Coalition for Fire Safe Cigarettes.
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 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 (Title 15, United State Code, Sections 375, 376, 377, and 378). 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.
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 (2) 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 (1) where you live and (2) what brand you are willing to smoke. If you live in a High Cigarette Tax State (MA, NJ, NY, WA, RI, MI), 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 (VA, KY, NC, SC, WY, GA), 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 with several locations in the state. (The prices shown do not include a Kentucky sales tax of 6%.) Here is a list of Local Cigarette Outlets throughout the United States.
Link to Us We welcome links to our service. If you choose to link your site to ours, please list us as Discount Cigarettes Shopping Guide. If you want to put the small (90 by 60) banner shown at the right on your site, you can download instructions by clicking here.
Shipping Costs Since the beginning of 2001, major shipping companies (including the U.S. Postal Service) have increased their prices. Most retailers have found it necessary to raise their prices accordingly. As of July, 2002, some have changed from a “flat rate” policy (for deliveries within the U.S.) to an “actual cost” method. Discount Cigarettes Shopping Guide’s current policy is to post the shipping cost per carton, based on an order of at least 5 cartons, in two different windows on the right side of each showing the rate to New York and the other showing the rate to California. When doing cost comparison among the retailers listed on our home page, please remember that if your order is to be delivered somewhere other than New York or California, your shipping cost may be different than either of the figures shown on a retailer’s listing. What About the “Minimum Order” Window? We no longer display that information. We found that many s
hoppers found it confusing because of its location immediately adjacent to the “Shipping Cost Per Carton” window. They inferred that for an order of only one carton, for example, the shipping cost displayed would apply. This was not the case because the cost displayed was based on an order of 5 cartons (the average order). In all but a very few exceptions, the shipping cost for an order of 1 or 2 cartons is about the same as if the order were for 5 cartons.
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.
Links to Smokers’ Rights Sites If you want to link to any of the sites below, you can find a small banner for each site by clicking on the “I Support Smokers’ Rights” button at the right. FORCES Smoking New York City CLASH E Cig Reviews Smoker’s Freedom Sig The Smokers Club, Inc.
Responsibility Disclaimer Claims made at any of the sites listed at Discount Cigarettes Shopping Guide, whether dealing with products or legal issues, and whether the site is a U.S. or foreign company, are the sole responsibility of the retail site making the claim. Although we make every effort to give accurate representations, we are not responsible for the validity of any information conveyed at websites that advertise within our pages.
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.
Cigarettes and Litter Cigarette butt litter is more of a problem than you might imagine. For some interesting information about cigarettes and litter, click here.
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.