The recent sudden, massive, and small-business ruining tax increase on tobacco products left a tax loophole that is literally size of a small cigar.
This story by the Wall Street Journal details the trend of cigar manufacturers to slightly increase the weight of their small cigars to fit the 3 lb. per 1,000 minimum that differentiates a ‘small’ cigar from a ‘large’ cigar. These smaller cigars already weighed close to the minimum, so modifying them seems relatively simple.
Now, sales of ‘little’ cigars have dropped 79%, while ‘large’ cigar sales quadrupled. One of the only representatives from a cigar manufacturer that would actually respond to the WSJ’s requests for comment said: “”If you can do something that is legal … at a lower cost, I don’t know that there are many companies that wouldn’t.” You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand that logic.
And yet, anti-tobacco crusaders continue to fire their legal slings and arrows at the cigar industry, claiming that manufacturers are somehow evading the law. Of course, they’re not, so the anti-smoking zealots are asking Congress to rewrite the law and punish cigar manufacturers for trying to stay in business. It’s sad because we’re seeing this moral crusade begin to contribute to the economic recession that many Americans are so desperately trying to escape from. More money goes to the government, less money goes to American business, and consumers pay more for the same product.
Among other ludicrous arguments, the anti-smoking lobby claims making these small cigars available cheaply encourages kids to smoke them. I guess that means we should raise the price on alcohol, guns, strip clubs, minimum bets at blackjack tables, and anything else we don’t want kids to have access to. That’ll stop them!
This ridiculous war on our personal freedoms would have us rolling in the aisles if it were not so downright threatening to core American values. Fight for your rights, cigar aficionados!