Cigarette taxes here in New York stand at four hundred and eleven dollars per pack, approximately, a burden to which New York smokers have reacted by grumbling slightly more than usual before heading out to turn tricks in order to score enough cash to buy three American Spirit loosies. "Rolling your own?" Don't try it, smart guy!

The NYT reports on one less way to rationalize prolonging your smoking habit—thanks to our mayor Michael Bloomberg, wealthy non-smoker:

The city filed suit last week against a "roll your own" cigarette shop in Chinatown and a related one on Staten Island, where a pack of cigarettes can cost less than $5, because the stores are not collecting cigarette taxes. The stores, both called Island Smokes, do not sell packs of Marlboros and Newports. Instead, they sell loose tobacco and cigarette papers, and have machines that let customers fabricate their own cigarettes.

So in order to raise tax revenue, New York wildly increases taxes on cigarettes, in order to make smokers quit, which will decrease tax revenue. Any action that falls outside of this paradigm is illegal.

Booze is still cheap, though.

[NYT. Photo: Daniel Kruczynski/ Flickr]