Philip Morris to stop supplying illegal Internet dealers

Friday, January 27th 2006, 6:19 am
By: News On 6

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ A tobacco giant reaches an agreement with attorneys general from 37 states and territories to stop supplying cigarettes to illegal Internet and mail order dealers.

The nation's biggest tobacco company voluntarily agreed to end shipments of any of its products to customers, American Indian tribes and enterprises that the states, which include Oklahoma, deem illegal.

The action is part of the states' efforts to curb the sale of cigarettes to minors over the Internet and by mail order, often to avoid substantial state sales taxes.

In March, major credit card companies agreed to stop processing payments from Internet retailers. Months ago, shippers D-H-L and U-P-S agreed to stop shipping packages from the vendors.

A spokeswoman for Philip Morris -- part of Altria Group Inc -- says the agreement builds on the company's policies and programs to preserve the integrity of its brands and the legitimate trade channels through which they are sold.