Smokers Choose Cigars to Evade From Excessive Cigarette Prices

Published on August 17th, 2012 00:00
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Smokers are currently switching to cigars and roll-your-own tobacco products in order to avoid excessive cigarette prices, according to a study presented by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. A long lasting trend has been more evident since the introduction of a federal law that charged higher taxes only on cigarettes, and not covered other tobacco products. According to the report, cigarette consumption between 2000 and 2011 dropped by approximately 35%, while the consumption of other smoking products raised 125% within similar period.

During the last three years, there was a 575% growth in use of pipe tobacco and a 235% boost in purchases of large cigars, which are taxed at a lower rate than regular cigarettes. The federal tax on cigarettes was raised to $1.01 per package, similar rate was imposed in small cigars and roll-your –own tobacco. At the same time, larger cigars, pipe and smokeless products were excluded from the higher rates. All these tax discrepancies led to ingenious marketing by the tobacco industry. “As smokeless tobacco products are classified basing on how they are labeled, a tax disparity of $21.95 per pound made producers to reconsider roll-your-own tobacco as pipe tobacco and advertise this already relabeled pipe tobacco for roll-your-own consumption,” according to the report. According to the report, tobacco companies have also led several raises in the weight of small cigars so they would be considered as “large” ones, thus resulting in a lower tax.

The proof that the raise in cigar and pipe tobacco consumption is the result of giving cigarette aficionados a cheaper alternative is a real public health concern. Commenting on the given report, Matthew L. Myers representative of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids attacked cigarette manufacturers for preventing the government’s attempts to decrease smoking related diseases. “By maintaining the prices of these products at a lower rate, cigarette companies are attracting people with their innovative products and keep smokers smoking,” stated Mr. Myers, calling for the leveling of taxes on all smoking products and for the FDA to control  all tobacco products, be it cigarettes, cigars or roll-your own tobaccos. “By controlling all smoking products, FDA can keep tobacco giants from tacking advantage of regulatory gaps,” Mr. Myers concluded.

By Kevin Lawson, Staff Writer.
Copyright © 2012 All rights reserved.

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