Archive for the ‘tobacco control’ Category

They Are Coming for Our Cigars by Frank Seltzer

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids takes aim at cigars and FDA control over them.  In a report out last week called Not Your Grandfather’s Cigar, the antis are pushing for FDA control over cigars.

The group said sales of cigars have gone from 6 billion to more than 13 billion over the past 12 years and –shock—it’s the kids who are smoking.  The report says:

“cheap, flavored, small cigars that appeal to young people are marketed aggressively and have resulted in high school kids and young adults being twice as likely as their older counterparts to be cigar smokers.”

Here is how they play the game.  It should be noted it is ILLEGAL for most high school kids to BUY tobacco, a young adult would be over 18 and legal to smoke but it doesn’t matter.

But you think oh they are after Swisher Sweets   or other machine made cigars so not to worry.  Well think again, because they do not differentiate.  The report further says:

“Given their success in marketing their products to kids and young adults, it is not surprising that some in the cigar industry are aggressively pressuring Congress to exempt them from any regulation by the FDA. No tobacco product should be exempt from regulation. ” (emphasis mine)


This means it is even more important for you to get involved.  Last session of Congress we got a majority of co-sponsors for the legislation to exempt premium cigars from the FDA’s clutches.  Now with a new session we have to start all over again.  HR 792 does just that.  But we need pressure on Congressment and Senators to sign up.  You can go to the Cigar Rights of America’s web site and send a message to YOUR Congressman.  Please do it NOW.

 Bloomberg Doesn’t Give Up

Well even though Mayor Bloomberg lost big last week (the mummies who had heart disease long before tobacco, fast food and big sodas) and the court knocking down his big soda ban, it doesn’t mean our boy  is lightening up.  Nope, now the king of New York City decided to come after tobacco again.  Of course Bloomberg said it is for the kids…give me a break.


The legislation would require stores to keep tobacco products in cabinets, drawers, under the counter, behind a curtain or in other concealed spots. They could only be visible when an adult is making a purchase or during restocking.


The legislation, for now, exempts cigar shops…but we know how THAT goes…give them an inch… besides isn’t it ALREADY illegal for kids to buy any types of smokes?  But you know once the 7-Elevens, drug stores and bodegas in NYC are covered it won’t be long before it would be expanded to the handful of cigar shops that are left.  Trouble is like most things they think up it doesn’t work.  Canada has had a display ban in parts of the country since 2002.  According to a paper by the Institute of Economic Affairs the policy has been “ruinous”.  The study says::


Display bans have been ineffective in the Canadian context with respect to reducing prevalence and consumption. Yet, they have succeeded at something else – that is, moving tobacco sales away from legitimate retailers, disproportionately independent corner shops, and towards the illicit tobacco market, something which is already a major problem both in the UK and many other parts of the world.

By forcing tobacco products under the counter, display bans blur the distinction between legal and illicit products and undermine two consumer beliefs that are the key to a legitimate tobacco market: first, the belief that tobacco is a legal, regulated product; and, second, the belief that consuming tobacco from the illicit market is a crime. In doing this, it becomes far more likely that smokers will move away from the legitimate market to the illicit market.

So the ban would further illegal traffic eh?  Well Blomberg is ready for that too.

The display legislation will be sent to city council on Wednesday along with the  “Sensible Tobacco Enforcement” proposal.  The idea is to strengthen enforcement of discounted and smuggled cigarettes. You see New York is number one in cigarette smuggling.

A recent study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy  showed why.

High excise taxes on cigarettes and tobacco lead to unintended consequences.

 Nearly 61 percent of all cigarette consumption in New York in 2011 was contraband.  It’s no surprise given that New York has the highest state levy at $4.35 a pack. But wait, there’s more.   Bloomberg adds yet another tax of  $1.50 per pack for the city making the total $5.85 in tax alone.


In addition to increased smuggling with higher taxes there has been a rise in thefts, hijackings of trucks carrying cigarettes, counterfeiting both tax stamps and cigarettes and violence against people and property which are very real consequences from the cigarette tax hikes.


“People don’t realize the degree to which government induces illegal and dangerous activity with bad policy,” said Michael LaFaive, director of the Mackinac Center’s Morey Fiscal Policy Initiative. “In this case, individuals cross borders for personal smokes and an organized, criminal class brings in contraband cigarettes by the van full.”

“Despite the best intentions by people who want to increase revenue or promote public health programs, [tax increases] are probably not having the positive impact they think they are having — and at the same time, they are creating costs and problems,” he concluded. “Officials need to ask themselves if a tax hike is worth it.”

In Bloomberg’s world everything that takes away liberties is worth it.

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