State Won't Release Cigarette Seizure Stats

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state Department of Revenue is seizing cigarettes under a new initiative to enforce a state law that restricts how many cartons can be brought into Tennessee.

But the department will not say how many cigarettes have been seized.

Revenue officials launched a program Sept. 21 to keep an eye on tobacco retailers just over state lines to spot and seize cigarettes from anyone bringing in too many.

The department refused to grant an Associated Press information request to find out how widespread the enforcement has been since the policy went into effect.

Revenue spokeswoman Sophie Moery said officials can't release the information because of concerns about violating taxpayer confidentiality.

Tennessee Coalition for Open Government Executive Director Frank Gibson says the refusal to release the information appears to be a misreading of open records exemptions.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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