Inside, employees of the Oneida Indian Nation dump the shredded tobacco leaves into rolling machines and fashion them into cigarettes to be sold at a dozen tribal convenience stores midway between Syracuse and Utica.

The cigarettes, branded with names like Niagara s and Bishop, sell for as little as $39.95 for a 10 pack carton much cheaper than those at non Indian retailers and bring in millions of dollars a year to the tribe, which also has a resort casino, five golf courses and a multimedia production house.

“We tried poverty for 200 years,” the Oneidas leader, Ray Halbritter, said in an interview. “We decided to try something different.”

The Oneidas cigarette manufacturing business is part of a new strategy that is quickly being embraced among New York s eight federally recognized Indian tribes. After years of fighting a losing battle against the state over the taxation of name brand cigarettes sold on reservations, many are now manufacturing their own cigarettes.

The tribes argue that because they are sovereign nations, the cigarettes they make are exempt from the state s $4.35 a pack excise tax, the highest in the United States. But the tobacco industry and owners of other convenience stores say tribal cigarette manufacturing is just an elaborate form of tax evasion.

The administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, which pursued the legal fight to tax name brand cigarettes sold on reservations, asserts that New York has the right to tax Indian made cigarettes sold to non Indians. But it has done little to test or enforce that claim, leaving the tribes, at least for the moment, free to sell their own cigarettes at cut rate prices to any and all comers.

Some tribes fear that the state could try to intercept trucks ferrying their cigarettes on state roads. The Cuomo administration has thus far opted not to do that, but the State Police and other law enforcement agencies have seized more than 60,000 cartons of Indian made cigarettes discovered in trucks pulled over for traffic violations over the last eight months.

A few Indian entrepreneurs have long manufactured their own brands. Smokin Joes, for example, have been produced on the Tuscarora reservation, near Niagara Falls, since 1994.

But the practice is now spreading rapidly. Though the tribes do not release sales figures for their brands, industry experts believe there are now at least a dozen Indian cigarette manufacturers operating across upstate New York, more than in the other 49 states put together.

A month before Mr. Cuomo took office, the Cayuga Nation paid $135,000 for a former scrap metal plant in the Finger Lakes region, and last year started producing Cayuga brand cigarettes, which it offers at two Cayuga owned stores and also sells to other Indian owned retailers.

And cigarette production is booming on the St. Regis Mohawk reservation in the North Country and at the Seneca Nation of Indians in western New York. There are four cigarette manufacturing enterprises on Seneca land, and around the tribe s Cattaraugus territory, near Lake Erie, white placards advertising Buffalo, Gator and Senate cigarettes dot the roadside.

The Onondaga Nation, with territory near Syracuse, is also considering establishing its own manufacturing operation.

J. C. Seneca, a tribal councilor who started selling cigarettes out of a trailer two decades ago, began making his own cigarettes on Seneca land four years ago. His plant, behind a tobacco shop that serves also as a gas station and diner, is a modest operation his production line requires about a dozen workers, and his equipment, imported secondhand from England and carefully maintained like a vintage car engine, dates to the 1980s.

“I always believed that there was another day coming, and I wanted to be prepared,” Mr. Seneca said. “Now, Marlboro s out, and we re in.”

The Oneidas jump started their manufacturing efforts by buying a private cigarette maker they paid $6.6 million in 2008 for Sovereign Tobacco, which had a plant in an old grocery store in Erie County. The tribe then moved the plant s equipment to the former bingo hall, a nondescript metal warehouse down the street from the longhouse where the Oneida tribal council holds meetings.

For the tribe, which has about 1,000 members, tobacco manufacturing is just one of several business ventures, including the Turning Stone resort and casino, which altogether employ more than 4,500 people in this part of the state. Unlike in some other Indian nations, the Oneida cigarette business is run by the tribe, not private entrepreneurs the proceeds support programs like college scholarships, housing assistance and a health clinic.

“It s not what we wanted to do,” Mr. Halbritter, the tribe s leader, said. “It s all we could do.”

Mr. Halbritter lamented that tobacco had come to symbolize the tensions over sovereignty. “It s sort of a shame that it has to be cigarettes, which is very distasteful to us,” he said. “Yet at the same time, the principle is the same, if we were manufacturing whatever it was.”

New York s governors have for years tried, and failed, to collect taxes from tribes for cigarette sales. The sales are substantial in the first six months of 2011, for example, the state s Indian nations imported 9.6 million cartons of brand name cigarettes, according to the State Department of Taxation and Finance.

The issue was recast last year when the state won a court ruling allowing it to demand tax payments from the American wholesalers that were supplying cigarettes to tribes for resale. The tribes then stopped buying the name brand cigarettes and resolved instead to stock the shelves of their convenience stores with their own cigarettes.

“Premium brand untaxed cigarette sales have virtually disappeared,” Edward Walsh, a tax department spokesman, said.

The New York Association of Convenience Stores, which had urged Mr. Cuomo to collect taxes on name brand cigarettes sold by tribes, is now pushing the governor to target Indian brands. “There remains an enormous tax evasion problem to be addressed,” James Calvin, the association s executive director, said.

David Sutton, a spokesman for Altria, the parent company of the country s largest cigarette maker, Philip Morris, said, “All cigarettes sold to non Native American New Yorkers need to be tax paid regardless of who manufactures them or New York State will continue to lose legitimate and significant tax revenue, and law abiding retailers will continue to be impacted by cigarette tax evasion.”

Howard B. Glaser, the director of state operations for Mr. Cuomo, said the state believed it had the right to collect taxes on the sale of Indian made cigarettes to non Indians. But Thomas H. Mattox, the state tax commissioner, said it was “much more efficient” for the tax department to focus enforcement efforts elsewhere.

“It s much easier mechanically to operate at the wholesale level than it would be to literally go store by store, or reservation by reservation, to collect that excise tax,” Mr. Mattox said. “We really have not talked about on reservation activities.”

The tax dispute has one clear beneficiary budget conscious smokers, who in many cases say they are compromising on convenience and the taste of their cigarettes.

“They re cheap,” said Danielle Silipo, a correctional officer from Rome, who was buying c
igarettes the other day at one of the Oneidas SavOn gas station convenience stores, which, with their green and yellow color scheme, are ubiquitous in this area. A sign on the door featured the logos of the tribe s four brands, with the message, “Why pay more?”

Top 10 cigarette brands – top 100 arena blog

Eu to ban menthol cigarettes — rt news

Owned by the British company Imperial Tobacco, they can be found in 90 different countries in the world. However, they cannot be purchased in the UK or Ireland. They are produced in Germany. They come in shorts, longs, menthol, and non menthol versions. More info on Wikipedia
9 Prime Time
It might seem strange to include a cigar on this list, but in case you didn’t know, “cigarette” is French for “little cigar,” so Prime Time cigars have the right to be here. Whether you think they’re cigars shaped like cigarettes or cigarettes that resemble cigars, they are growing in popularity. They come in many flavors, including cherry, grape, chocolate mint and regular. More info on official site
8 L&M
Abbreviated from Liggit and Myers, L&M cigarettes are all the rage in Europe, Asia and the Arab nations. They have only been available in the United States since 2007, even though they are produced by the Altria Group, Inc., the company formerly known as Philip Morris. You can get them in menthol and non menthol varieties. More info on Wikipedia
7 Parliament
The best cigarette for cocaine users (if you believe the rumors). Parliament cigarettes are produced by Philip Morris and come in both regular and menthol varieties. They are popular throughout the world, including Asia, the United States, Japan, India, Turkey and Russia. They are different from most cigarettes because they have a recessed filter, which is how the cocaine rumor got started. More info on Wikipedia
6 Lucky Strike
Did you ever hear the phrase, “Smokin’ a Lucky?” Well, these are the smokes the people were talking about. One of the oldest manufactured cigarette on the market, the first Luckies were produced in 1871. The orignal Lucky Strike pack was green, but when World War II broke out, the company switched to the now recognized red, white and black pack. More info on Wikipedia
5 Pall Mall
Named after a popular street in London, Pall Malls were originally produced to attract upper middle class Londoners. When the company was sold to American Tobacco, they became one of the most popular cigarettes in the US. More info on Wikipedia
4 Winston
Believe it or not, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble used to do commercials for Winston cigarettes. Yeah, that Fred and Barney. In the 50s, celebrity endorsements for cigarettes were very popular, and a kiddie cartoon was no exception. Think about it, back in those days, the family used to watch television together, so even though it was the kid’s show, mom and dad were probably watching too. But it’s still hard to picture Fred saying, “Yabba dabba doo!” with a smoke hanging out of his mouth. More info on Wikipedia
3 Newport
Unlike other cigarette brands that created a menthol version of their cigarettes later, Newport did the reverse. The menthol cigarette pre dates the non menthol. Newports are the #1 brand for African American smokers and you can’t pick up an Ebony or Jet without seeing at least one advertisement for the brand. More info on Wikipedia
2 Camel
Camel cigarettes used to have a cartoon camel on the pack whose name was Joe Camel. However, the company which produce Camels, R.J. Reynolds, was forced to remove him from the packs and all its merchandise because it was thought that Joe was meant to appeal to children. And we can all agree that advertising cigarettes to kids is a bad thing to do. But even without the cartoon camel, plenty of people still smoke the brand. Enough to make it the runner up on our list. More info on Wikipedia

And now, without further ado, the most popular brand of cigarettes is
1 Marlboro
Is this a shock to anyone? Marlboro is one of the most popular brands throughout the world. Although it no longer sports the Marlboro Man on its packet, people who choose Marlboro still buy into the wild west attitude. Even with the unflattering nickname of “Cowboy Killers,” Marlboro Reds are still the most popular and purchased cigarette in the world. More info on Wikipedia

And there you have it the top 10 brands of cigarettes. We’re sure one of your favorites is on the list. However, since we are in no hurry to get a stern letter from the Surgeon General, we have to remind you that smoking is bad for you. It could cause cancer, low birth weight in babies, can complicate pregnancy and make your fingers all yellow and icky. And yes, sometimes, kissing a smoker is like kissing an ashtray. However, we draw the line at showing you some obscenely graphic photo of what you lungs might look like after 50 years of smoking, or people talking through a device in their throat. Just consider yourself warned If you don’t smoke, you shouldn’t start, and if you do smoke you might want to consider quitting.