Report shows cigarette use down, roll-your-own use upA report by the Centers for Disease Control shows consumption of roll—your-own cigarettes and small cigars rose 16 percent last year.
By: By Shamane Milles, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A report by the Centers for Disease Control shows consumption of roll—your-own cigarettes and small cigars rose 16 percent last year. Conversely, sales of more expensive cigarettes dropped 2.5 percent.
The CDC report says cigarette smoking has continued to decrease in the U.S. but consumption of loose tobacco used in “roll your own” cigarettes has increased substantially, along with small cigars, which are often flavored. Maureen Busalacchi is Executive Director of Health First Wisconsin.
“They make [the small cigars] in strawberry cream and sweet cherry and grape. And when you smell these products they remind you of candy,” she said. “And those products are not taxed the same.”
They also are not displayed the same way in stores. Cigarettes have to be behind the sales counter. This is not true for small cigars that look like cigarettes. They are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the same way, even though Busalacchi says the health effects are the same.
“A pack of cigarettes — according to the CDC — costs $9.53 in health care costs and lost productivity,” she said. “So we need to continue to increase our taxes on all these products, especially little cigars.”
Anti-smoking advocates recently scored a victory in curbing sales of commercial roll-your-own cigarettes. Last month, a federal law was signed requiring roll your own machines to be licensed and to be taxed more like regular cigarettes.