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  • 30.06.2014 Alexandria Tobacco Users Are Unhappy With New Law

    There is a certain irony to it, some have said.Smokers in Alexandria will have to leave local discount cigarettes stores to light up the products they just bought there.At least 25 feet from the stores to be exact, starting Jan. 1 after the Alexandria City Council passed an ordinance Oct. 4 banning smoking cigarettes in businesses previously exempt from state and local smoking cigarettes bans, including bars and buy cigarettes stores.And some tobacco users are not happy."They think the City Council way overstepped their boundaries," said Vonne Neal, owner of Alexandria's Smoke Shop." With...

  • 09.11.2012 Southern Board Bans Tobacco

    All of Southern University’s campuses will ban cigarettes store starting in January, the Southern Board of Supervisors decided.The move makes Southern the first college system in Louisiana to ban all cigarettes products. Nicholls State University became the first public college in Louisiana to become tobacco free at the beginning of this calendar year.Southern University System President Ronald Mason Jr. said the new policy is about promoting healthy lifestyles and setting a quality standard for all of higher education.“We’re going to look at it as the beginning of a cultural...

  • 18.10.2012 New Jersey Considers New Taxes On Non-cigarette Tobacco Products

    Little cigars, which are taking increasing space on area tobacco-shop shelves, are shaped and smoked just like cigarettes. But because New Jersey taxes them differently, they cost nearly one-third the price.Over the past several years, increased state and federal taxes have helped turn some smokers on to less-taxed cigarettes store products, local shop owners and anti-smoking cigarettes groups say.New Jersey has a $2.70 tax per cigarette pack, and the federal government has a $1.01 excise tax it enacted two years ago.That sixth-highest cigarette tax in the country may entice more smokers to...

  • 10.09.2012 Free Patches For Smokers

    Quitting smoking cigarettes just got a little easier. For a limited time, the California Smokers' Helpline is sending callers from Nevada County free nicotine patches. Eligible cigarettes store users who call 1-800-NO-BUTTS and enroll in the free telephone-based cessation program will receive a free two-week starter kit of patches, while supplies last.The patches are an FDA-approved treatment proven to help smokers kick the habit. They release nicotine into the bloodstream through the skin, reducing withdrawal symptoms and slowly weaning smokers off nicotine. Nevada County was one of 34...

  • 09.09.2012 Films Subsidized By State Promote Smoking

    California taxpayers subsidize major motion pictures that depict smoking cigarettes, which promotes the unhealthy habit and undermines efforts to keep young people from lighting up, according to UCSF researchers.In a report published Tuesday in PLoS Medicine, the researchers say the state and other governments may be violating their own health policies and goals when they subsidize or offer tax credits to makers of movies that directly or indirectly promote smoking cigarettes."We have a situation where governments today are now spending taxpayer money to sell discount cigarette online to...

New Jersey Considers New Taxes On Non-cigarette Tobacco Products

Little cigars, which are taking increasing space on area tobacco-shop shelves, are shaped and smoked just like cigarettes. But because New Jersey taxes them differently, they cost nearly one-third the price.

Over the past several years, increased state and federal taxes have helped turn some smokers on to less-taxed cigarettes store products, local shop owners and anti-smoking cigarettes groups say.

New Jersey has a $2.70 tax per cigarette pack, and the federal government has a $1.01 excise tax it enacted two years ago.

That sixth-highest cigarette tax in the country may entice more smokers to quit or prevent others from starting, said Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy, a New Jersey-based anti-smoking cigarettes group. But inconsistencies in taxes among various cigarettes online products cause some smokers to simply switch products, she said.

“We are lagging, as are many other states, with the other types of tobacco products. The industry has caught on to the fact that there’s this loophole with regard to other smoked tobacco products, and they’re cheaper,” said Blumenfeld, who wants a uniform pricing that would tax all tobacco products as cigarettes.

New Jersey collected nearly $742 million in cigarette taxes last year. That was a 4 percent drop, or $33.1 million less, compared to 2008, state Treasury Department data show.

Yet revenue from other tobacco products — such as cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, and roll-your-own — shot up 26 percent in that time, generating $3.7 million more from lower tax rates.

The state has a wholesale tax on these products that is 30 percent of the price the wholesaler pays the manufacturer, Treasury spokesman Bill Quinn said.

“If I had to buy online cigarettes for seven, eight dollars, I’d consider quitting,” said Dave Schubiger, 52, of Barnegat Township, who bought a 10-pack carton of little cigars for about $22. Had they been cigarettes, it would have cost him nearly $75.

“Price is a big thing; plus, I like them,” he said.

In New Jersey, little cigars in particular have been targeted by proposed legislation that seeks to tax them the same as cigarettes.

“The additional tax will make little cigars less appealing to current cigarette smokers seeking a cheaper alternative,” reads the proposed bill sponsored by state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, Essex, Passaic.

The Office of Legislative Services estimated in 2010 that the bill would increase tax revenue from $6 million to nearly $9 million. The office estimated more than 5 million packs of little cigars were sold in fiscal year 2010.

But rising taxes will not stop people from smoking cigarettes, although future increases may hurt New Jersey businesses that are being undercut by other states that have lower tobacco taxes and, likewise, cheaper tobacco, said Jeff Melchiondo Sr., owner of Tobacco Road in Barnegat.

The tobacco shop Melchiondo runs with his son sells cigars, pipe tobacco, cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and little cigars.

“Whether discount cigarette online are selling for $2 a pack or $8, people will still smoke cigarettes — that may put more weight on the roll-your-own market if that is not taxed any more. The little-cigar smoker may go back to roll-your-own instead,” he said.

Roll-your-own cheap cigarette online have been popular, but that tobacco is taxed more heavily than pipe tobacco, which can be used instead. Roll-your-own tobacco has a federal tax of $1.55 per 1-ounce pouch. Pipe tobacco, on the other hand, has a federal tax of about 18 cents per 1-ounce pouch.

Nationally, nearly 3.6 billion fewer discount cigarettes were manufactured from January to July than last year, a 2 percent drop, data from the federal Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Bureau show.

Meanwhile, pipe-tobacco manufacturing picked up substantially — by about 5.7 million pounds, or about 44 percent.

Bob Tyjewski, manager at Smoker’s Haven in Galloway Township, has seen roll-your-own-cigarette sales double in the past few years. The shop keeps roll-your-own tobacco and pipe tobacco together on a shelf.

“Going to roll-your-own is an economic move, not because you got tired of what your Marlboro tastes like. It’s a matter of nickels and dimes,” he said.

Tyjewski said he is losing business to other states. New Jersey is behind only New York, Hawaii, Connecticut, Washington, and Rhode Island in the highest cigarette taxes.

Pennsylvania and Delaware’s cigarette tax is $1.60 a pack.

Tyjewski has even seen the reverse — he has regular New York clients heading to Atlantic City who buy cartons of cigarettes. New York’s cigarette tax is the highest in the nation, at $4.35 per pack. They save $16.50 in state taxes per carton.

“The government, they don’t want you to smoke, but you can bet they spent that tax money,” he said.

Absecon resident Bharat Patel, manager of Northfield News and Tobacco in Northfield, said little cigars and roll-your-own have increased significantly in the past few years due primarily to the price of cigarettes.

In New Jersey, about 14 percent of the adult population — about 1 million people — are smokers, data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show. The national median is about 18 percent.

At Tobacco Road, little cigars come in two brands: Cheyenne and 1839. They come in full flavor, light, menthol, cherry, peach and others.

Little cigars are more profitable for Tobacco Road to sell than buy cigarette online which, unlike little cigars, are available nearly everywhere and have low profit margins in order to compete, Melchiondo said.

Now, the shop sells as many packs of little cigars as they do cigarettes, he said.

“People will still buy them as long as they’re reasonable enough. If these go up to 3 or 4 dollars a pack, then they’ll go back to buying the roll-your-own stuff, probably,” he said “As long as there are savings involved, I think a market will still be there.”


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