Over the weekend, 30,000 counterfeit cigarette cartons made in China were seized in a Borough Park warehouse with an estimate street value of $4.5 million. The cigarettes, mocked up to look like Marlboros, Newports and Camels, were sold at a lower, untaxed price across the city, undercutting the typical ~$12.50 price for a pack of NYC cigs. What’s worse is that they were apparently even unhealthier than regular cigarettes, since Chinese manufacturers use all kinds of disgusting methods such as running over tobacco leaves with trucks to get a little more oomph out of their output.
This would normally be an amusing “True Crime” story on its own, but reading about it triggered the realization that my roommate’s been smoking these cigarettes, as have I, and that we’re probably going to get cancer. He’s been buying his Marlboros at a bodega for way less than the regular price but had never questioned, because you don’t ask questions about a steep discount on a horrible, life-ending habit. But the brand, the price, the fact we live in Brooklyn… I mean, that has to be what’s up, right? I’ve been sharing a cigarette break with him once a day since we moved in together, and now I’m terrified my blood is filled with micro parasites or tire grease or something. Ugh, terrifying. There has never been anything good about saving money. If I die, you’ll know who to blame.