Cigar News

Tobacco Retailers Challenge News Reports on Roll-Your-Own, Pipe Tobaccos

“The anti-smoking forces once again are getting their underwear in a twist by reaching for straws in their attempts to besmirch our mom-and-pop members,” said Gary Pesh, president of the IPCPR. Pesh also is owner of a chain of retail tobacco stores in Virginia. “We the retailers didn’t make the marketing switch and we never market to or sell any kind of tobacco products to children.”

The Associated Press and other news sources have reported that some small producers have relabeled their RYO products as pipe tobacco to avoid having consumers pay newly increased tobacco taxes at the much higher RYO level.

Among other increases on tobacco products, the new RYO taxes jumped 2,000 percent per pound. RYO tobacco sales have plummeted while pipe tobacco sales are on the rise. Pesh believes it is due, in small part, to the label switch but mostly because many consumers who roll their own cigarettes are simply using pipe tobacco, which, because of lower taxes, is less expensive than RYO tobacco.

“The IPCPR is comprised of some 2,000 tobacconists, largely small, neighborhood businesses that maintain very high standards of ethics and professionalism. We didn’t support these tax increases but, now that they are here, we abide by the letter of the law,” Pesh said.

Pesh is particularly concerned with the well-funded anti-tobacco organizations claiming in the reports that his organization’s membership sells any kind of tobacco products to children, including flavored pipe tobacco.

“Pipe tobacco is marketed strictly to adults – as are all of the tobacco products we sell. It’s against the law to sell tobacco to minors. Period. As for pipe tobacco, it has been infused with a wide range of flavors to enhance and provide variety in its taste and aroma for the adult pipe smoker since the 1500s,” he said.

The new tax increases on tobacco products went into effect earlier this year to fund SCHIP, the government’s expanded children’s health insurance program.

“These tobacco taxes are never going to be enough to pay for SCHIP. If more people smoked, they might be enough, but we all know that smoking overall is on the decline, largely due to these very same increased taxes. In a way, the government is throwing out the baby with the bath water by over taxing tobacco,” said Pesh.

As for the news reports, Pesh emphasized that pipe tobacco and RYO tobacco are different products for different uses; that pipe tobacco has been flavored for five hundred years and has never been marketed to children; and that the IPCPR fully supports children’s healthcare but believes it should be funded by sources other than tobacco.

“Taxes aimed at modifying behavior have a way of backfiring. And the last thing we need is for government to further intrude on our businesses and personal lives,” he said.

#   #   #

For more information about tobacco tax issues in your state, please visit www.ipcpr.org.

Gary Korb

Gary Korb

Executive Editor

Gary Korb has been writing and editing content for CigarAdvisor.com since its debut in 2008. An avid cigar smoker for over 30 years, during the past 12 years he has worked on the marketing side of the premium cigar business as a Sr. Copywriter, blogger, and cigar reviewer. A graduate of the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, prior to his career in the cigar business, Gary worked in the music and video industry as a marketer and a publicist.

Show all Gary Korb's Articles
nowsmoking dec 19 2018 Laranja Reserva Volta cigar review CACover

#nowsmoking: Laranja Reserva Volta

Laranja Reserva Volta: medium-bodied, offering a well-balanced and creamy smoke with notes of sweet spice, nutmeg, graham cracker, and orange zest. What else do you need to know about it? Click now and see…

Read More
nowsmoking 300 manos 300 hands habano cigar review Cigar Advisor Cover

#nowsmoking: Southern Draw 300 Manos Habano Petite Edmundo

#nowsmoking the Southern Draw 300 Manos Habano, “the poster child for ultra-creamy cigars with a woody, full-flavored profile.” Click now to get our tasting notes, and everything else you need to know about this cigar in under 60 seconds…

Read More

#NowSmoking: H. Upmann Mogul

Trending: #nowsmoking H. Upmann Mogul Toro...see our 10-second cigar review here, and share! Find us on Instagram: @famoussmokeshop and @cigaradvisor
Read More
CACover cigar gift guide 2016 Christmas

2016 CA Report: Holiday Cigar Gift Buying Guide

Our 2016 Holiday Cigar Gift Buying Guide is here! See what deals our experts picked as the best cigars and accessories that say, "you're gonna love this."
Read More