You might have seen the news story last week on tobacco companies adding kitty litter to their little cigars so they can evade taxes and flavor bans. Cats everywhere are outraged. Humans everywhere should be disgusted. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids have created a tumblr account to show the absurdity of this new tactic: http://kittylittercigars.tumblr.com/ please check it out and share with friends and family.
A dozen tobacco companies have gained from a legal loophole that helped them avoid as much as $1.1 billion in U.S. taxes. Their secret: Using fillers such as the clay found in cat litter or stuffing the products with more tobacco to tip the scales in their favor. The heavier weight let the companies sidestep a 2,653 percent increase in a federal excise tax, taking advantage of a 2009 law that spared so-called big cigars.
There were 22 companies producing small cigars in the year before the law created the new tax structure, according to data from the Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Twelve of those companies, none of which the government would name, either switched to or increased production of large cigars in the year following the law, the bureau found.
The result is that while cigarette smoking -- the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. -- continued an 11-year downward trend, large cigar smoking tripled from 2000 to 2011 and loose tobacco pipe smoking has jumped almost sixfold, the CDC said last year in a report. Sales of large cigars more than doubled to 1 billion units a month in September 2011, from 411 million when the law took effect in January 2009, the GAO said. At the same time, small cigar sales dropped to 60 million from 430 million.
The FDA, which was given the authority by Congress in 2009 to regulate tobacco, primarily cigarettes, is now looking to broaden its rules. We hope with these new developments we see stronger oversight!