NEW YORK-While many sectors of the economy have not recovered from the recession, “loosies” or Black market single sold cigarettes are providing income for a lot of people in New York City. The New York Times reports:
“The tax went up, and we started selling 10 times as much,” Mr. Warner said. “Bloomberg thinks he’s stopping people from smoking. He’s just turning them onto loosies.”
Mr. Warner said he bought his cigarettes — almost always Newports — for a bit over $50 a carton from smugglers who get them in states like Virginia, where the state tax is well under a dollar a pack. He then resells them for 75 cents each, two for $1 or $8 for a pack ($7 for friends).
Mr. Warner said he and each of his two partners took home $120 to $150 a day, profit made from selling about 2,000 cigarettes, mostly two at a time. Each transaction is a misdemeanor offense.