The Georgia Department of Revenue is investigating a local gas station accused of illegally selling individual cigarettes. The Department of Revenue says selling these cigarettes is costing the state potential revenue.
A federal law prohibits the sale of individual cigarettes because it is a form of tax evasion. The Department of Revenue says some retailers take cigarettes out of their original packaging and sell them individually to avoid taxation. News 3 received a tip that two local gas stations were selling "loosies", or individual cigarettes. It turned out that one of these gas stations was doing so.
News 3 went undercover to the Chevron on Farr Road in Columbus and the store allowed us to attempt to buy an individual cigarette. The cashier told us he was unaware of the law and said he would tell the owner, who was not in at the time, they were breaking the law. He claimed they would stop selling individual cigarettes.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Division (ATC) of the Department of Revenue enforces these laws and were unable to provide a spokesperson to comment, but they issued a statement saying, "We look for retailers selling individual cigarettes during inspections and the department imposes a fine in relation to the severity and history of violations. If a retailer has repeated offenses, their license is usually suspended or revoked."
If you witness an individual-cigarette sale, the Department of Revenue asks you to call their tip line at: (877) 423-6711.
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