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Native smokes near me wooded hills and pristine lakes of the Akwesasne reservation in western New York, there are three hulking buildings along Frogtown Road. The first, a red warehouse and factory, has stacks of cartons of Native cigarettes. A green structure across the street sells Signal. And in a tan building next door, crates of Nations Best and Discount are bunched up.

These are among the tens of millions of untaxed cigarettes piled high in a warehouse in Schenectady County that is leased by the state Department of Taxation and Finance. State officials say the cigarette companies on the reservation are producing an illegal, profit-driven trade in untaxed cigarettes. They blame smuggling for a crushing deficit and angry American Indians, and they say the tobacco companies are refusing to cooperate with their efforts to crack down on it.

Finding Native Smokes in Canada: Your Shopping Companion”

While the smuggling is not unique to Native Americans, states across the country are fighting back with measures to collect taxes and regulate cigarette sales. Some are partnering with the tribes to collect taxes and establish quotas for shipments from Indian reservations. Others are trying to deter smuggling by targeting the wholesalers that supply the shops on the reservations.

Nathan, a Lakota member of the Oglala Sioux tribe, never smoked a cigarette in his life, but for 11 years he worked in a casino that allowed smoking. He says breathing in other people’s smoke daily led to health problems, including permanent lung damage. In this video from CDC’s Tips From Former Smokers campaign, he shares his story.

Post Author: unescoafrica

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