Possible Cigar Tax Increase

By: Sarah Goebel Email
By: Sarah Goebel Email

Smokers are outraged over a proposed tax increase on cigars.

The Federal Government is considering raising taxes on premium cigars by 20,000%.

The reason for the increase is to put more money toward child health insurance.

This means cigar buyers could be paying an additional $10 per cigar.

"When you get a hand rolled cigar you have to cut the end off to make it smokeable," smoker, Dwight Hadley said.

Hadley considers himself a cigar aficionado.

"I've subscribed to the magazine for years so I guess I am, yes," Hadley said. "I don't smoke everyday but for special occasions cigars are nice."

If cigar taxes increase, Dwight said his hobby could change.

"I don't think I could afford cigars," Hadley said. "I could afford a few cents, but I don't think that's good."

Dwight paid $11.40 for two cigars.

But the proposed legislation would mean he'd have to fork over more than $30 for the same two cigars.

"... Totally ridiculous; we're paying a premium price at current market standard. I wouldn't be buying the cigars," Hadley said.

"If he's not going to be paying that then I'm not going to have any income," said Lee Davis, BG Pipe and Tobacco Shoppe owner.

Davis is worried the tax would put her out of business.

"This is one of my favorite cigar stores. I've been coming here for years," Hadley said.

Customers like Dwight would have no use for Lee's store anymore.

He may be a social cigar smoker but feels taxing one industry is ridiculous.

"I'm for child health care, but I think we need to spread that cost across the market and make it equitable for all industries,” Hadley suggests.

"If that's the case, look at how many children are obese from fast food? Put a tax on fast food and let it go to child health care," Davis said.

Lee and Dwight feel they're targeted for something that some people believe is taboo.

Hadley believes the increase would, "probably kill the industry."

The proposed tax increase would not affect tobacco farmers in this area.

Local farmers say their crop is mainly used for cigarette tobacco, not cigars.

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