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NEW YORK -- Convenience stores are losing customers to online cigarette vendors, having seen their 60 percent share of sales slowly dissipate, reported Fox News.
Many Internet services are run by Native American tribes, which don't have the same tax obligations and are able to charge lower prices for cigarettes.
Web sales have already taken away an estimated $1.5 billion in tax revenues from shops, according to a report put out by the FACT Alliance for the Fair Application of Cigarette Taxes, an advocacy group against tax evasion on cigarettes.
But some Indian reservations face delivery restrictions in many states and recently lost a court appeal that would have made it easier to use shipping companies to deliver packs of cigarettes.
Attorney Joseph Crangle argues the ban is detrimental to Native Americans' income. "It's almost racist, quite frankly, for recent attacks against the Indian entrepreneurship that these folks have developed these last several years," Crangle said.
Lobbyists for the convenience store industry allege that tribes are skipping out on tax payments and selling to minors.