Business | National

St. Regis Mohawk family enters cigarette manufacturing business

A family from the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York has entered the cigarette manufacturing business in hopes of avoiding battles with state governments and pressures from big tobacco companies.

Justin Tarbell's family produces the Signal brand at its own plant on the reservation. "We want to be in control of our destiny," he told The Wall Street Journal.

The brand sells at a lower price than "premium" lines. "It is nice that they are cheaper," customer Heather Burdick told the Journal after switching from the more expensive Marlboros.

The state hasn't said whether it impose its tax on brands produced in Indian Country. But one big tobacco company hopes to apply some pressure.

"We want the federal and state governments to even-handedly enforce the laws across all cigarette brands," a spokesperson for Philip Morris USA, which produces Marlboro, told the paper.

Get the Story:
Tribes Rolling Out Cigarettes (The Wall Street Journal 8/17)

Related Stories:
Big tobacco pushing states to go after tribal tobacco retailers (6/22)

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