Indian cigarettes near me with the state over how to tax name-brand cigarettes sold on Indian reservations, New York’s eight federally recognized tribes are taking matters into their own hands. The Oneidas have bought a factory, and the Cayuga Nation has started producing its own brand of cigarettes to sell at two convenience stores. But critics say it’s just a disguised form of tax evasion.

For years, America’s big tobacco companies have flooded the states with their brands and sold them on reservation smoke shops for untaxed dollars. The tobacco industry says it’s a matter of tribal sovereignty, but other officials and store owners accuse the manufacturers of failing to police their own products. And while a few large wholesalers have backed away from supplying reservation smoke shops, some still do so. Last spring, Philip Morris, the nation’s biggest cigarette manufacturer, sent an attorney general letter to the wholesalers it did business with in New York, telling them to stop selling its cigarettes on Indian reservations. It even cut its relationship with a distributor that had long been smuggling Marlboros into the Poospatuck’s fictitious smoke shops.

Understanding Native Smokes: Varieties and Availability

The smuggling is brazen and widespread, fueled by demand for cheap, name-brand cigarettes and the state’s reluctance to enforce its cigarette-tax law on reservations. Some experts believe New York’s cigarette black market is among the largest in the country. But a steady stream of lawsuits in state and federal courts against New York’s tobacco wholesalers and Indian vendors could soon change that.