Nicotine Addicts Unite -- Safer Euro Cigs Now Banned in the U.S.

First you were kicked off airplanes, trains, and buses, then banned from restaurants, then bars (of all places!), and now many parks and beaches. Even roommates, friends, party hosts, and lovers force you outside. The sidewalk is the last place you can enjoy your killer habit, and yet the looks on the street grow nastier. And the prices -- good grief, lady! It's cheaper to smoke dope.

Luckily a little company in Balerna, Switzerland came around to help with that last bit. Somehow, Yesmoke.ch's owners, Gianpaolo and Carlo Messina, managed to deliver quality coffin nails to the States for around $1.50 a pack. This at a time when brand-name cigarettes cost as much as $8.50 in New York City. (Yesmoke cigs cost even less if you find a way to log in through a current "Yespeedy" customer, the company's quirky discount program.)

There are rumors that Yesmoke is able to offer its low priced fags thanks to a Swiss-Italian smuggling ring. But whatever. Cheap cigs are cheap cigs. And European cancer sticks are healthier than U.S. cancer sticks. And the economy shipping option is free! And something is dreadfully wrong when I can buy crack, beer, and Republican votes for less than a pack of Camels.

I've used Yesmoke for years, and they've always been very responsible. It's true that you do have to be patient with the orders -- even if you pay for expedited delivery or airmail, it can still sometimes take months to receive an order, so you must order far in advance of when you need the product. The reason for these delays is two-fold: (1) Ordinary international shipping delays, which can be expected with most products ordered from overseas; (2) Special international-customs-inspection delays due to the nature of the products (cigarettes, cigars, wine, and food-stuff).

However, when things work well, sometimes even the cheapest delivery option will result in the product being delivered within just a few days. If the product doesn't arrive, Yesmoke will not refund or replace an order for several months -- but this makes sense, since all orders usually arrive eventually, and Yesmoke knows that massive shipping delays are common with their products in particular. Of the many times I've ordered from this company, there was only one time that a shipment did not arrive. After several months and one brief email of complaint, Yesmoke sent me a replacement without any fuss. In fact, they were very friendly about it.

Regrettably, the big tobacco companies have been hassling Yesmoke for years for various reasons, including the fact that European cigarettes conform to higher health standards than U.S. cigs (which could open the companies up to law suits if, for instance, a Yesmoke customer did not get cancer from smoking Euro Camels, but a another smoker did get cancer from smoking U.S. camels). At first, this resulted in Phillip Morris being allowed to take -- by force and court order -- the Yesmoke.com website address (the company now must be reached through Yesmoke.ch).

But more recently, the tobacco companies have found a friend in the NY State Government, which is angry with Yesmoke circumventing New York State and NYC cigarette taxes (through a kinda legal customs loophole). This resulted in the confiscation of all U.S. shipments of Yesmoke products. Yesmoke is currently unable to ship any more product to the U.S., and the matter will likely be decided in court in the favor of the NY government and Big Tobacco.

The real calamity is that the ban comes at a time (not coincidentally) when Yesmoke has evolved from being a mere shipper of cigs to being a manufacturer -- the Yesmoke brand of cigarettes are similar to American Spirits and Winstons in that they avoid additives of all sorts, and Yesmoke has taken things a step further by listing their ingredients on their package and trying to create a slightly safer cig. It appears to be a smashing new product, but we in the U.S. may never know.

If Yesmoke is ever able to ship abroad again, I'd highly recommend the company (although, of course, quitting smoking is the healthiest and cheapest option available, if you don't mind being a quitter... But why would you quit when you could die early with me and Steve McQueen?).

***

UPDATE:

As of May 2005, Yesmoke.ch is still banned from shipping to the U.S. However, new companies have arisen, such as SwissTob.com, a company based in Lugano, Switzerland, and Cigs.ch/SmokesPleasure.com (Tobacco Outlet, LLC), which sometimes uses a Swiss website domain but supposedly ships from a Seneca Nation American Indian reservation in Irving, NY in the good ol' U.S. of A. (e-checks and mailed checks are preferred as payment, but they sell American Spirits, which is very cool).

So far I've had no luck confirming the legitimacy of these upstart operations, but when I briefly interviewed a SwissTob customer service rep, they said, "We are not the same company [as Yesmoke, but] we understand your point. We know what happened to other companies that shipped Philip Morris cigarettes to the U.S.A. Philip Morris won a suit for copyright infringement [against Yesmoke, which resulted in the Yesmoke.com domain being confiscated]. We inform you that we haven't got these cigarettes therefore we will not have such problems."

However, with most major credit card companies in the U.S. now prohibiting the use of their cards for online fag purchases, various state's enforcing laws that forbid interstate tobacco trade (including tobacco from Native American/Indian reservations), New York State and NYC teaming up with the feds to semi-legally block international cig shipments, and Yesmoke currently embroiled in various lawsuits (despite switching over to their own brand of cigs, thus avoiding Big Tobacco copyright infringement), it's painfully unclear how SwissTob.com and co. hope to make a dime.

The fine folks at SmokingLobby.com say that the initial SwissTob ads are misleading -- implied promises of being able to use credit cards and offers of Marlboros are a bait and switch that leads to international wire transfers and Camel/European cigarettes; and rumors abound that SwissTob is actually just a figurehead company trying to sell off Yesmoke’s old wares. That’s all well and good, if a bit duplicitous, but with U.S. customs watching Swiss imports with hawk-like efficiency ever since the Yesmoke debacle, SwissTob cigs will be hard-pressed to make it to our fine shores.

Will they refund orders seized by American authorities (the way Yesmoke did for years)? Unlikely. Remember: You’ll be paying with a wire, bank draft, or check, which are far more difficult to contest than credit card charges.

The Smoking Lobby instead recommends CigMall.net (their cigs are possibly of Ukrainian/Russian origin). And SmokingCig.com looks sketchy but at least is upfront about its questionable efforts at creating a legal loophole (“We are Only Shipping Cigarettes Made In The Ukraine and sent 1st Class Certified Mail from the Russian Post”).

Are they scams? Can they deliver? You tell me...

Really. Tell me. Before I put more of my own money (and my poor, smoky lungs) up to the challenge.

***

NEW UPDATE (July 2005):

I had a great experience ordering from SmokesPleasure.com (Tobacco Outlet, LLC). As with most online cigarette purchases these days, it does take a few weeks for the order to arrive. However, the customer service at the Tobacco Outlet is superb: They're very nice people, and you can talk to them via phone or email (a rarity in this age of semi-banned Internet nicotine sales).

The cost at SmokesPleasure.com is higher than at the European sites, but it's worth it since the orders actually arrive as expected. Also, they're one of the only online stores offering light American Spirits (one of the safest cigs around), and the price per cartoon is significantly cheaper than any deal that can be found in a major U.S. city outside of the Deep South. If this company can keep up the good work without running into the law, they'll prove to be the best game in town.

Note: According to research conducted by Celebrity Cola, SmokesPleasure is just one of many affiliates that sells cigarettes for a business venture entitled Nationwide Marketing Company, which is owned by Teresa Page (aka Shawna Page) and located in Kilgore, Texas. The Nationwide Marketing Company, in turn, is connected to Tobacco Outlet, LLC, also known as T.O., which operates out of a Native American Indian reservation located in Salamanca, NY.

T.O. supplies and ships the cigs, while Nationwide Marketing is in charge of billing and customer service, and each website affiliate is supposed to worry about taxes and legal issues on their own, depending on the state they're located in. The affiliates garner a commision on sales and are encouraged to sign up other affiliates, similiar to Amway and other pyramid-based sales organizations.

Interestingly the affiliate agreement states, "All Affiliates must agree that under no circumstances can they be affiliated ... with Paul Erickson, Venessa Twoguns, Two Guns Smoke Shop, Thundersmoke or Smokinfree for they are unworthy of such business dealings." It's unclear whether these other companies are merely arch rivals or if they're known scams.

Still, my experience using T.O. through the SmokesPleasure.com affiliate was top-rate, so until things go sour, they get my thumbs-up of approval.

***

Related News:

"A Kick in the Ash -- Smokers, beware: City Hall is coming for your wallets," reports the NY Daily News.

"City Wants Its Cut For Cigarettes," demands back-taxes for online orders, says Newsday (story archived at NYC CLASH: Citizens Lobby Against Smoker Harassment).

Credit card companies refuse to participate in Internet sales of cigarettes thanks to a government agreement, reports the ConsumerAffairs.com (March 2005).

Using an expanded view of the Imported Cigarette Compliance Act of 2000, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency seize cigarette shipments from Have-Cigs.com / havecigs.com / havecigs.ch and other international dealers. HaveCigs' Louisville, KY office fires back advice and outrage at angry customers.

Play with Us

9 comments:

Nerdifer said...

Dude - I hear ya! I miss the days when I lived in Japan and could buy them cheap from a non-judgmental vending machine. Now I have to skulk up to the counter of the convenience store and avoid eye contact with the non-smoker behind the counter while I ask for a pack of "Those'll Kill Ya" - you know, the one with the really nasty picture of mouth cancer on the enormous warning label. It sucks.

Oh, and the Government of Ontario's latest anti-smoking ad campaign is called "Stupid" (www.stupid.ca) The girl in the ad is holding a metal pole during a thunderstorm. They play this thing before every single movie and it drives me bonkers. And I don't even smoke that heavily!

Anonymous said...

Oh, no. I wish I would have found your site before I sent $200 to Swisstob. I placed my first order for six cartons of Dunhills on June 7th, and received two of the cartons within a couple of weeks. (I live in NJ) Now it's been the max time of 28 days and I haven't received the other four cartons. I've sent three emails and received no response. At this rate, $100 a carton is a bit steep.

I'll let you know if this gets resolved.

Anonymous said...

I sent by mid july 100 Euro to Swisstob but they have never credited my account at their company and don't answer my many e-mails to them! My first order in june was on contrary handled very fast and efficient. I don't understand. What can I do? Live in Sweden!

Anonymous said...

Two Guns Affiliates are with Paul Erickson and Vanessa,and are arch rivals of Nationwide Marketing.They are both thieving bastards.
Quote:
Note: According to research conducted by Celebrity Cola, SmokesPleasure is just one of many affiliates that sells cigarettes for a business venture entitled Nationwide Marketing Company, which is owned by Teresa Page (aka Shawna Page) and located in Kilgore, Texas. The Nationwide Marketing Company, in turn, is connected to Tobacco Outlet, LLC, also known as T.O., which operates out of a Native American Indian reservation located in Salamanca, NY.

T.O. supplies and ships the cigs, while Nationwide Marketing is in charge of billing and customer service, and each website affiliate is supposed to worry about taxes and legal issues on their own, depending on the state they're located in. The affiliates garner a commision on sales and are encouraged to sign up other affiliates, similiar to Amway and other pyramid-based sales organizations.

Interestingly the affiliate agreement states, "All Affiliates must agree that under no circumstances can they be affiliated ... with Paul Erickson, Venessa Twoguns, Two Guns Smoke Shop, Thundersmoke or Smokinfree for they are unworthy of such business dealings." It's unclear whether these other companies are merely arch rivals or if they're known scams.

Still, my experience using T.O. through the SmokesPleasure.com affiliate was top-rate, so until things go sour, they get my thumbs-up of approval.

***
Unquote

Cigoutlet said...

Very intersting.
I reccomend you to read follow article: cigoutlet.
Very intersting to US citizen.

Deepak said...


Nicotine addiction
is an uncontrollable dependence on the highly addictive nicotine stimulant present in tobacco products. Nicotine alters the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that causes smokers to experience pleasurable changes to mood and concentration. When a smoker stops smoking they crave the nicotine effects and can suffer withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, depression and irritable.

Paul C. said...

Caffeine Addiction - Caffeine Effects and Withdrawal part I

In this article, we are going to discuss the importance of caffeine addiction and the most important facts about it, as caffeine addiction is something we all must prevent in order for us to be healthy and stay that way for years. We are also going to mention some significant facts about caffeine effects and how caffeine effects may affect our body performance considerably.

Caffeine addiction is one of the most famous types of addictions in the world, just like cocaine and marihuana. Caffeine addiction sometimes has been considered a lie, but it is a really, because caffeine is a stimulant that becomes addictive within a certain period of time. Interestingly, caffeine addiction shows up when you are not expecting it, and it does not necessarily show up because we want to

Pure caffeine is, chemically speaking, a plant-based alkaloid that stimulates the central nervous system in any living creature that intakes it. Biologically, caffeine serves as a form of pest control for certain plants like cacao trees, coffee shrubs, yuba mate and tea trees; it causes insects and other pests to fall down from the effects of over-stimulation. So, just like those pests and insects that I mentioned, caffeine also produces stimulation in our central nervous system, which usually makes us feel more energized, invigorating and active.

There is something called caffeine withdrawal, which refers to the sudden denial of us to consume caffeine, and it happens when regular consumers of caffeinated products may experience painful headaches if the body is denied caffeine. These headaches are caused by excess blood gathering in the area around the brain and sinus cavities, so without the stimulation provided by caffeine, the blood vessels shrink, restricting the blood flow. The traditional cure for caffeine withdrawal is to ingest more caffeine, which is not a healthy solution and this is also why many headache medications contain small amounts of caffeine.... to be continued

You can find more info at: http://yourcaffeineaddiction.com/

Anonymous said...

Smooth and aerial thomas sabo the links of london fair lends an air of breeding thomas sabo charm sale to the wearer cheap thomas sabo charms and accept discount thomas sabo charms been a apparel thomas sabo charm clearance basal for thomas sabo charms australia centuries, and a alliance accoutrements tradition. thomas sabo clearance sale However, one can achieve it somewhat added chichi and admirable by giving it a hardly avant-garde aberration by interspacing on gold wire or amphibian on adapted thomas sabo australia constructed bond giving a millennium look. Currently Amphibian Chaplet are a actual "hot" actualization account thomas sabo jewellery for their contemporary and thomas sabo charms admirable looks accessible in a thomas sabo charm club array of styles, sizes and colors to amaze the eye.

Shaun Marsh said...

This a very good decision taken by the U.S. Govt.Cigarettes are not good for health & it can increase the chances of lung cancer.I appreciate the decision of U.S. Govt.
Hookah Pipe