Cigarettes sold at wholesale dealers for resale to Indian nations and tribes and reservation cigarette sellers are exempt from the state’s $4.35-a-pack excise tax to the extent that they are accompanied by Indian tobacco exemption coupons or prior approval is received from the state Tax Department. Cigarettes sold by retail dealers for resale to non-Indians are subject to the New York state sales tax.

After years of a indian cigarettes near me battle with the State of New York over its cigarette taxes, some of the eight federally recognized Indian tribes in New York are now taking matters into their own hands. Instead of selling name-brand cigarettes at their stores and smoke shops, some are now manufacturing their own brands, which they sell without the state’s $4.35-a-pack tax, the highest in the United States.

Across upstate New York, from the Cayuga Nation in the Finger Lakes to the St. Regis Mohawk reservation in the North Country to the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus territory in western New York, signs advertising native-made cigarettes dot the roadsides. At a SavOn convenience store on the Thruway in Canastota, the shelves are stocked with Native cigarettes, which are also sold at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino.

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The tribes argue that because they are sovereign nations, the cigarettes they manufacture should be exempt from the state’s cigarette taxes. And the Cuomo administration, which has pursued a legal fight to tax name-brand cigarettes on Indian reservations, has done little to test or enforce that claim. That leaves the tribal stores free to continue selling billions of untaxed cigarettes, and state authorities are suing some wholesalers for complicity in that smuggling.

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