Senators seek to close 'little cigar' loophole
- Blog Post by: Jim Ragsdale
- January 28, 2013 - 10:31 AM
"Little cigars" are coming in for attention at the Minnesota Legislature.
Sens. Kari Dziedzic, DFL-Minneapolis, and Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, introduced bills to close what they say is a loophole in state laws that allows these tobacco products to be sold at lower prices, and to be flavored, making them appeal to younger smokers.
These "little cigars" come in packs of 20 with filter and "are just as deadly and dangerous" as cigarettes, Dziedzic said in a statement. Yet because they have tobacco leaf in the paper part of the product, they are classified differently than cigarettes for tax and regulatory purposes.
That means a pack can be flavored and costs less than one-third of a pack of cigarettes, the senators said.
Their bill would subject "little cigars" to the same taxes and fees and other laws.
Nelson said because the products are not subject to the federal ban on flavored cigarettes, they come in peach, grape, strawberry and chocolate flavors" and are aimed at the youth market.
The photo shows Sen. Dziedzic holding the brown-colored little cigar next to a regular cigarette.
© 2013 Star Tribune