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December 20, 2011

Cigar industry ready to fight tobacco tax

The cigar industry is preparing to fight a tobacco tax that health advocates hope to push through the General Assembly next year.

The International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association, which represents thousands of mostly mom-and-pop cigar stres, said it is organizing in hopes of preventing the proposed tax on cigars and others tobacco products other than cigarettes from passing.

“Maryland voters are sick of increased taxes disguised to obscure government over-spending and they are tired of being told what to do and how to behave," Bill Spann, CEO of the IPCPR said in a statement.

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is pushing for the the new tax. They successfully pushed dime-a-drink tax on alcohol through the last General Assembly session.

The group published a recent telephone poll of more than 800 people that found that two-thirds of Maryland voters supported a cigar tax. The group said the poll by Opinion Works also found that about 72 percent of Maryland voters like the idea of taxing cigars and smokeless tobacco at the same rate as cigarettes.

The group believes increasing the tax will cut consumption and fund health care programs, especially among youth who have adopted the use of cigars, especially flavored ones.

As of 2010, 15.2 percent of adults and 14.1 percent of high school students in Maryland were smokers.

The cigar stores say the argument by health advocates is a misguided effort to prevent underage smoking. Youth can't afford cigars which cost $6 to $30 and they industry has strict policies against underage sales, Spann said.

He said a tax would hurt small businesses and kill jobs.

Posted by Andrea Walker at 12:01 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: General Health


During the last round of tax changes the cigarette companies managed to have the bulwark separating their product from the rest of the tobacco industry.

This needs to be remedied and the real problem needs to be addressed from the other end. But these same legislators are afraid of losing campaign funds and perhaps believe themselves incapable of attacking the real problem: the existence of manufactured cigarettes.

Put simply, they need to be banned in total.

Not the underlying natural state agricultural product (tobacco) and not premium cigars and pipe tobacco and not even the lower quality loose tobacco that people might hand roll themselves... just the manufactured and adulterated and advertised industrial product known as "cigarettes".


At what point in time do we stop attempting to control the lives of others and allow people to choose for themselves?

Quite simply, a tobacco tax does nothing but hurt our economy and the future of our children. It is the kind of myopic thinking above that leads us to draconian measures and towards a totalitarian state.

What we need to remember is that we cannot be a "free" country when we no longer have the ability to choose.

Despite what Mr.Rational says, I think there are other "draconian measures" being forced upon our citizens these days that are far more threatening to our way of life than a measly tax slapped on a poisonous product. The invasive pat-downs and body scans at your local airport easily come to the mind. If the tobacco industry is so worried about our freedoms, maybe its shills could apply some pressure on Congress to stop those unreasonable searches at the airports. I know the tobacco tax issue is a state matter and not a federal matter, but I get sick and tired of the tobacco industry wrapping the American flag around itself whenever its stratified position is ever "threatened." As any medical professional can tell you, increased taxes on tobacco are a win-win situation. The higher taxes reduce consumption which significantly reduces heart disease, and ultimately eases pressure on rising health costs .Any tobacco merchant who whines about this should take a lesson from the horse industry during the early part of the last century when the automobile appeared on the landscape. You had your day. Now suck it up and find another product to sell.

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About Picture of Health
Meredith CohnMeredith Cohn has been a reporter since 1991, covering everything from politics and airlines to the environment and medicine. A runner since junior high and a particular eater for almost as long, she tries to keep up on health and fitness trends. Her aim is to bring you the latest news and information from the local and national medical and wellness communities.

Andrea K. WalkerAndrea K. Walker knows it’s weird to some people, but she has a fascination with fitness, diseases, medicine and other health-related topics. She subscribes to a variety of health and fitness magazines and becomes easily engrossed in the latest research in health and science. An exercise fanatic, she’s probably tried just about every fitness activity there is. Her favorites are running, yoga and kickboxing. So it is probably fitting that she has been assigned to cover the business of healthcare and to become a regular contributor to this blog. Andrea has been at The Sun for nearly 10 years, covering manufacturing, retail , airlines and small and minority business. She looks forward to telling readers about the latest health news.

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