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Stogie Alert: Stop the 20,000% Cigar Tax Increase

18 Jul 2007

We were planning on posting a review or commentary today, but then we arrived home and found ourselves bombarded with emails from various cigar retailers.

CapitolAs it turns out, those idiots up on Capitol Hill are preparing to engage in the worst kind of bullying: They are proposing to raise taxes on cigars from 5 cents to $9.95 per stick.

To fill you in on the details, here is a statement by JR Cigars head Lew Rothman, which is similar to many of the other emails we received:

Everyone, and I mean everyone, that even smokes a cigar now and then has to be on alert for messages from all smoke shops and Internet vendors and manufacturers in the next few days regarding the proposed new tax on tobacco products:

“The Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a markup on Tuesday, July 17 on legislation dealing with the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The measure is expected to be reported out of committee. Funding would be almost totally via higher taxes on tobacco products. The cigarette tax will increase by $.61 to $1 per pack effective after December 31, 2007. Other tobacco products would be taxed as follows: large cigars – 53.13% of mfr’s or importer’s sales price, but not more than $10.00 per cigar.”

In addition, there will be a floor stocks tax on tobacco products manufactured in the U.S. or imported into the U.S. which are removed before January 1, 2008 and held on that date for sale. The person holding the product on January 1, 2008 is liable for the tax to be paid on or before April 1, 2008.

YES! You read that right! $10.00 PER CIGAR, plus whatever your local state tax is. The people in Washington have absolutely no clue about the cigar business. Their sole focus is on cigarettes and we are about to get dragged along with it.

Not only will this put virtually every manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer out of business, it will also devastate the economy of Nicaragua, Honduras, The Dominican Republic, and also have a significant impact on Puerto Rico, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, and Peru. (Whereupon, I’m sure the USA will be called upon to provide additional relief funding!).

You and everyone else who has any thoughts about continuing to smoke cigars or grow, sort, manufacture, distribute, or retail cigars need to make a concerted phone, mail, and e-mail bombardment of Congress very shortly. Hopefully, someone more adept at interpreting this new tax law will supply the proper language for this protest.

Be ready and be vocal, and be outraged because this tax is definitely outrageous. It is my firm belief that if passed as it stands right now the entire industry will collapse prior to April 1, 2008 (appropriately named April Fools Day for the Fools we have running the government right now) because no one will have the finances to pay the tax on their inventory.

We’ve long argued against punitive tobacco taxes – which we’ve noted simply pick on a minority that already pays more than its fair share. But this proposal blows all other proposed tax increases out of the water. And even if you think the SCHIP is something worth funding, you should still oppose a regressive tax on tobacco that singles out a small and already heavily discriminated group.

That’s why we’re asking every reader to contact both their Senators today and tell them you oppose raising taxes on cigars to fund SCHIP legislation. Their numbers can be found here.

Patrick S

Tags: cigars

34 Responses to “Stogie Alert: Stop the 20,000% Cigar Tax Increase”

  1. Armond Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 6:44 am #

    Holy. Fucking. Christ.

  2. Randy C Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 6:45 am #

    What are the chances this legislation will actually pass?

  3. furious Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 7:07 am #

    Absolutely zero. But I would be very afraid of the fascist mindset that thinks this is plausible.

  4. Patrick A Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 7:18 am #

    The Democrats — who control both houses of Congress — are behind this bill.

    Fortunately, the president has vowed a veto if it passes. It’s worth noting, however, that Bush is less interested in keeping tobacco taxes low than he is in opposing any expansion of federally financed health care.

  5. George E Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 7:58 am #

    The Finance Committee markup on this bill is now scheduled for Thursday at 9 a.m. Getting the tax cut or eliminated in markup would offer the best chance for its failure. Check here to see if one of your senators is on Finance and give him or her a call:…. I urge you to call or send an individual e-mail. Members of Congress generally pay little or no attention to orchestrated campaigns compared to contacts from individuals.

  6. George E Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 8:11 am #

    Also, if you want to e-mail, this site has the address/contact form for each senator:

  7. George E Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 8:44 am #

    Oops, I didn't realize the site Patrick had highlighted in the column already has the e-mail addresses in additon to the phone numbers.

  8. stinkie Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 10:47 am #

    MonkeyDan from got responses back from both senators. Both Durbin and Obama from Illinois plan to vote for this. has read that Bush would veto it if it would pass but I have not read anything like that yet.

  9. Eric Wednesday, July 18, 2007 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks for the report- yikes! The sick irony behind politicians using such devious taxes to fund their programs is that without the smokers, their programs wouldn’t be able to exist. In one side of their mouth they say, “Smoking is bad, we want everyone to quit; that’s why we are raising taxes on tobacco.”
    But on the other side they are really thinking “We need more smokers, because the more smokers we have the more money we get!” And for Americans who don’t enjoy a cigar or other tobacco products, they think that if this doesn’t affect them then it is a good tax. But when does it stop? If everyone stopped smoking, then they would turn to the next product. It could be ice cream, coffee, who knows maybe even water!?

    Hopefully this will not go through. Thanks Stogieguys!

  10. Ken York Friday, July 20, 2007 at 4:42 am #

    I will both pay the tax and increase my purchasing of cigars if they allow me to smoke my cigars anywhere I want based on the tax. I will also be buying the most foul smelling cigars I can find.

  11. cigarman Friday, July 20, 2007 at 9:07 am #

    Why don't they increase taxes equally among all products that people use that contribute to poor air quality. Personal products like perfume and scented body products cause as much health problems (or more) than tobacco.

  12. omahacigarfan Friday, July 20, 2007 at 3:39 pm #

    Does anyone know if there is a petition or anything that can be done to try to fix this problem?

  13. Jeff Saturday, July 21, 2007 at 4:14 am #

    Did you not that this tax is for "children WHO AREN'T POOR ENOUGH for Medicaid"? So, their parents work then, right? Why do I have to pay for this stupid program?

    Also, just to be accurate – not EVERY cigar is taxes at $10. But still, if you enjoy a 4 dollar smoke, you are going to now pay 6 bucks for it. That sucks – I now have to pay for someone else's child's health care. Democrats will never learn, YOU TAX SOMETHING MORE you get less revenue in the long run because people consume it less (in most cases). Eventually this well will dry up for them and they'll go run some other industry into the ground "for the children"

  14. Bill Wood Friday, July 27, 2007 at 9:09 am #

    Since hearing about this at one of my Libertarian Party meetings, I have been posting news about this on MySpace groups like the Libertarian group and Pipe Smokers, etc. Many people are unaware of this.

  15. J Boone Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 4:24 pm #

    I just contacted both of the Senators here in Florida.
    Spread the word to stop the tax that is the only way to stop it. Remember this issue in November 2008!

  16. chad hair Thursday, August 16, 2007 at 4:43 pm #

    i thought we where living in a free country and now days everything goes up in price in a blink of a eye ! u guys need 2 relize that we shouldnt have to pay a arm and leg for a pack of cigs when if they didnt want them out there they should of never sold them and now people are a dicted to them it is there life not urs and they should be able to live it the way they want to not the way u want us to no wonder why people are going to drugs they are cheaper then cigs and they can calm there nicotine down they need to inforce the underage smoking more then they do

  17. BOB Wednesday, August 22, 2007 at 9:55 pm #

    i have been buying cigars from JR in the Carolinas for well over 20 yrs ….. has anyone recieved a bill from the State Of New Jersey billing them for back Tobacco and sales taxes yet ??? I have a friend that got a bill for cigarettes he bought from cheep tobacco co for over $840 tonight from the NJ state tobacco sales tax dept !!!! Was wondering if i am in for a HUGE surprise in the mail too ?????

    Has anyone got any NJ tax bills yet for Cigars bought from out of state ??????

    PLEASE reply to this if you know anything about this…… Thanks !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    please reply …………………

  18. Patrick S Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 9:30 am #

    Can’t say that I have (but then I’m not from the “garden state”), but I’ve heard that New Jersey is aggressive about collecting these taxes.

  19. BOB Thursday, August 23, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    ANY NJ CIGAT BUYERS FROM JR CIGARS OR MIKES IN FLA ………….please let me know if you have recieved any NJ sales/tobacco tax bills in regard to Cigars getting purchased and shipped to NJ from out of state ?????????

    PLEASE let me know asap !! thanks….

  20. A. Chaperon Friday, September 21, 2007 at 9:34 am #

    I have contacted my Senators today, and left messages for the Legislative Assistants in each office. The bill on the Senate calendar is S.1893, Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2007. Find the bill at:

    This is the THOMAS website for Library of Congress. I urge you to call your Senators today and voice your concerns over this legislation.

  21. Diamond Wednesday, October 17, 2007 at 8:28 pm #

    If these bums vote over the preidents veto and enact this , we will know the USA is done for.

  22. JHV3 Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 12:30 pm #

    instead of taxing cigars, the clowns in Washinton can start Taxing the rich! also they can tax the Hell out of all the big oil companies. They can easily afford a mice heafty tax! strap on a pair all you no good politicns!

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