Ease Up

Some lawmakers are calling for leniency on proposed taxes for premium cigars.

Rep. Jim Nash (R – WI) called the current setup a “crushing” tax on local cigar businesses and their customers. He cited that many tobacco enthusiasts are patronizing shops in other states, or switching to online retailers, who typically offer cigars at reduced or no taxes.

Under Nash’s proposal, premium cigar taxes would be reduced to 50 percent of the wholesale price, down from the current 95 percent. The move would not affect so-called ‘gas station’ cigars such as Swisher Sweets, Dutch Masters, etc.

Critics of the proposal argue that increased taxes showed a statistical reduction in overall smoking, particularly by youth. Meanwhile, supporters cite those figures are flawed.

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