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Written by Puff Staff

Friday, 10 August 2012

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PA Senator Pat Toomey Supports Cigar Retailers

Cigar smokers all over the USA have a friend in Sen. Pat Toomey. On Tuesday, Toomey held a press conference at the Bethlehem, PA, warehouse of Cigars International and discussed his proposed bill to exclude premium cigars from FDA regulation.

 

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Toomey told the crowd, “Unfortunately, this kind of solution would mean fewer jobs and an economic downturn for this entire industry, and we don't need that.”

The bi-partisan bill was co-sponsored by Florida Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson, while a companion bill in the House is backed by 168 Republicans and 50 Democrats.

Toomey scoffs at claims that more regulation of cigars by the FDA would keep them out of the hands of minors, saying, “There's never been any evidence that there’s an epidemic of young kids smoking $10 cigars. This is just not happening.”


Some Cigarette Smokers Switching to Cigars

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that while cigarette consumption has dropped 33% over the period from 2000 to 2011, use of other smokable tobacco items like pipes and cigars has jumped 123%.

 

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The main reason cited for the increase is the increase in federal taxes imposed on cigarettes. The CDC reported, “The availability of low-priced and less regulated alternative products appears to have led certain cigarette smokers to switch to other combustible tobacco products. This group also might include persons who otherwise might have quit smoking as a result of the 2009 federal tobacco excise tax increase and FDA cigarette regulations.”

While part if this increase could be credited to adults who enhance their smoking pleasure by moving up to cigars, at least some of the time, there’s also the factor of the small flavored cigars that appeal to younger smokers.


NATO Fights Illinois Tobacco Tax

Back in June, changes were made to the state of Illinois’ cigarette tax, including a $1-per-pack increase on cigarettes and a raise from 18% to 36% on moist snuff and little cigars.

 

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Several organizations including the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), the Cigar Association of America and Arango Cigar Co. have filed a suit seeking to block these changes, claiming the wording of the law is “unconstitutionally vague.”

The groups charge that the law puts tobacco retailers in danger of having their products confiscated or paying too much in taxes if they incorrectly label some products like small cigars.

The suit seeks an injunction rolling back the changes and to block the state from enforcing the tax laws.






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