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Stogie News: Thin Bars of Gold

31 May 2006

Leave it to politicians and bureaucrats to exploit every loophole in a shameless effort squeeze as many hard-earned tax dollars out of Americans’ pockets as possible.

My home state – the Land of Lincoln – is only the latest addition to a group of 38 other states who are petitioning the federal government to reclassify little cigars as cigarettes. Why? Because, under current law, cigars can’t be taxed and regulated as heavily as cigarettes can.

As a consequence of the 1998 tobacco lawsuit, cigarette producers agreed to pay health care costs associated with cigarettes to state governments. But, with sales doubling in the last decade, state lawmakers see little cigars as thin bars of gold – a potential landmine in additional tax revenue.

As we all know, a little cigar is certainly not a cigarette. Not only is the tobacco completely different, but cigarettes are rolled with paper, not tobacco leaves.

Plus, the tobacco business as a whole is already one of the most taxed industries in the country. And regressive tax structures such as these hurt low-income individuals the most.

If taxation is slavery, then smokers are probably the most enslaved citizens in the United States.

I should mention that I can’t recommend these machine-made mini stogies, but individuals who enjoy them certainly shouldn’t be punished for their preference. With trumped up excise taxes on cigarettes nationwide, it’s no wonder many people are crossing over to little cigars as an alternative. It’s my hope, however, that these disenfranchised, overtaxed smokers make the jump to the full-blown, handmade stogies so many of us have grown to love.

While it’s anything but clear what Big Brother will do about little cigars at this point, the obvious option is to not force little cigar producers – and, in turn, little cigar smokers – to bear the burden of additional taxes on already outrageously-taxed goods.

If you ask me, the government has enough fingers in smokers’ pies as it is.

-Patrick A

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    […] are pushing hard for the state to classify little cigars as cigarettes. Why? As our May 2006 commentary explains, it’s easier for politicians to tax cigarettes than cigars. The Union-Leader wrote a […]