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Oregon Targets Online Cigarette Retailers

SALEM, Ore. -- In the coming months, the Department of Justice and the Oregon state police will conduct undercover operations to purchase cigarettes via the Internet, reported the Salem, Ore.-based Statesman Journal.

The state is targeting Internet retailers that have been selling cigarettes and other tobacco products to underage consumers. Also, if the retailer is not licensed as a distributor or has not affixed cigarette-tax stamps to the cigarette packs, the state will pursue civil and criminal penalties.

Many Internet retailers that sell cigarettes to Oregon consumers do not have a system for verifying the age of the consumer and do not pay the required Oregon cigarette tax.

In 2003, the Oregon legislature enacted new laws enhancing the protection of minors from illegal tobacco sales and requiring Internet tobacco sellers to pay their share of Oregon's tobacco tax. The failure to pay cigarette taxes cost the state millions of dollars in lost revenue, state officials said.
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