UPS to End Internet Cigarette Deliveries

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UPS to End Internet Cigarette Deliveries

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- United Parcel Service Inc. has agreed to stop delivery of cigarettes sold to consumers over the Internet in the United States, state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's office said in Buffalo Business First .

The agreement is part of a continuing effort at the state and federal level to end the sale and shipment of contraband cigarettes -- particularly to reduce youth access -- over the Internet.

"The Internet has become a haven for illegal cigarette traffickers, and this agreement eliminates one more avenue through which these criminal enterprises had been shipping their products throughout the country," Spitzer said in a statement.

The agreement with UPS does not prohibit the company from making lawful shipments of cigarettes to licensed tobacco businesses and other authorized recipients, reported Business First .

Spitzer is also calling on Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the U.S. Postal Service from shipping cigarettes through the mail.

The Postal Service last month adopted a policy recognizing that it "cannot knowingly permit the mails to be used to further activities deemed unlawful by state and federal authorities." That policy, the attorney general's office said, still allows postal employees to accept packages "suspected of containing untaxed or undertaxed cigarettes," Business First reported.

"Internet cigarette traffickers are increasingly using the federal mail system to distribute their wares," Spitzer said in the report. "The Postal Service clearly has the legal authority to refuse these shipments, but has not done so. It is an embarrassment that major private companies have stopped carrying contraband cigarettes, but the federal government continues to accept them. Congress needs to step in and stop this practice immediately."