$5 Bootleg Newport Packs Bought On The Street Looking More AttractiveBad/ good news: New York is attempting to double its cigarette tax to $3 per pack, which would bring the overall cost of a pack to almost $9, the most in the nation. But the New York Association of Convenience Stores is lobbying hard against the increase, saying it will only drive smokers to bootleggers and Indian reservations to stock up. Gosh, how evil of these cursed Convenience Store lobbyists to oppose this vital public health measure! Also, does anybody know where I can send contributions to the Convenience Store lobby? This is tearing our society's fragile smoker-nonsmoker peace agreement apart! Luckily, the crack New York media found one smokin' teenager to put this difficult issue in perspective:

Megan Lane, 17, called it "ridiculous" and vowed to find ways to avoid paying the tax rather than quit.

"If you're a true smoker, you'll pay anything. I'll never quit. Never," said the East Quogue, L.I., teen, who was chain-smoking Parliaments outside Madison Square Garden as she waited with her dad for an autograph from Rangers forward Sean Avery.

"Nine dollars is stupid," she said. "I'm going to go to the Indian reservation and get them for $3. They don't check ID."

[pic via Gotham Gazette; quote via NYDN]