In recent years, the number of English-language websites selling cigarettes has grown dramatically. The bulk of the increase comes from a rise in the number of overseas vendors. Most of the domestic sales come from tribal lands or tobacco-producing states.
The number of Internet cigarette vendors has risen sharply from 88 in January 2000 to 772 in January 2006 (Ribisl, 2007). Likewise, the proportion of U.S. smokers purchasing their cigarettes online more than doubled from 0.6% to 1.3% between 2002 and 2003 (Hyland, 2006). Internet cigarette vendors are located both within and outside the United States. In recent years, much of the growth in Internet cigarette vendors has occurred among international vendors that market primarily to customers in the United States. In 2003, the first year in which international vendors were tracked, 10 percent of 338 vendors identified were based outside the United States. By 2005, 45 percent of the 664 vendors identified were based outside the United States (Ribisl, 2007). Most of these international vendors were located in Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Indonesia. Among domestic vendors, 63 percent were Native American affiliated and about a quarter of vendors were located in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia--all tobacco-producing states with low excise taxes. More than three-quarters of the Native American Internet cigarette sites were run by Seneca Indians located on two reservations near Buffalo, New York.