Package delivery company DHL agreed to voluntarily end deliveries of direct-order cigarettes to individual consumers in the United States, New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said yesterday.
The agreement was another victory for those seeking to end the illegal sale of cigarettes over the Internet, Spitzer said. In a joint statement with Spitzer, DHL said it was taking a proactive approach to the issue.
This makes DHL the first major package delivery company to cease delivery of direct cigarette sales to consumers. However, it will continue to deliver to licensed tobacco retailers.
Internet and mail-order cigarette sales violate numerous laws, both federal and state, including tax, age verification, delivery and reporting requirements, according to the New York attorney general's office. Federal and state law enforcement officials have been working to end such practices and since 2004 have filed criminal indictments and seized contraband cigarettes, the office said.
Virtually all credit card companies agreed to the online cigarette sales ban in March. Spitzer also has called on the U.S. Postal Service to work harder to prevent illegal cigarette deliveries. Though the USPS enforcement division has been helpful, its delivery operations, “inexplicably, have refused to take appropriate action,” the New York attorney general's office said.
Spitzer also said he supports a federal ban on direct shipment of cigarettes. Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, proposed a bill last month that would require the postal service to stop delivering cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products.
Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters