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Two TN Retailers Cited For Selling Loosies

By John Disque

Selling one cigarette at a time is known as selling "loosies". It's a common practice in Europe but very uncommon in America, and that's because it's illegal. Still, some retailers insist on ignoring the law and doing things their own way.

The reason it is illegal in America is because it tends to attract the youth market as a more affordable option to experiment with cigarettes. Cigarettes are over $5 a pack yet you can buy a single cigarette for only 25 cents. Almost anyone can manage to come up with a quarter.

Outside of targeting youths the biggest issue with this practice is: if it continues, TN could lose federal funding for alcohol and drug treatment programs. It is one thing to gamble with your own future and business, but it is quite another to risk your entire state's well being. For this reason, the general public should be on high alert.

Violation penalties are $1,000 per offense but, still, in 2009 the Attorney General, Bob Cooper, sent out 23 warnings to retailers known to sell loosies. Cooper stated that each warning case is being followed up and they will continue to prosecute those who choose to ignore them or take them seriously.

Apparently, two TN retailers have already been hit with fines - M&J Market, 2814 Gallatin Road, Nashville, and Western Drive-In Market at 1004 Memorial Blvd., Springfield have been cited.

TDA and the Attorney General are encouraging everyone who is aware of a retailer selling single cigarettes to call TDA complaint hotline at 1-800-628-2631.

Published January 17, 2011

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