Small Cigars Are Big Business
Almost a billion little cigars were sold last year so they are a significant part of the market. Machine-made versions of cigars remain the bulk of the sales at mid-90%. Sales of the little ones still remain far lower than they were prior to the SCHIP taxes, when the taxes jumped to roughly 25 times what they were before that.
Small cigars provide a cheap way for people to sample cigar smoking. They can experience the taste and try out smoking without inhaling, as most do with cigars. If the experience goes well, they might try a larger version in the evening when there’s more time to relax.
Flavored little cigars have done better since flavored cigarettes were banned. An increase occurred when the little cigars were made “heavier” so they would be classified as large cigars and actually taxed less as a result. This made little cigar sales go down but large cigars go up in a similar amount. To be classified “little,” they have to weigh in at less than three pounds per thousand. To be considered cigars, they have to be all tobacco, which cigarettes are not. That’s all good for the federal side but the states have almost as many different rules about little cigars as there are states. Some have higher weight classifications, some have packaging restrictions and others don’t allow filters.
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