The availability of these low-priced, less-regulated products has blunted the impact of cigarette tax increases and regulations that might have prevented kids from starting to smoke, reduced smoking overall and encouraged people to quit, the CDC says.
Highlights of the report include:
Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that "the report shows the length tobacco companies will go to, to manipulate their products to avoid taxes and avoid regulation in order to keep smokers smoking and to attract new users."
For example, to avoid regulations and taxes, companies have called roll-your-own tobacco "pipe tobacco," but it's really the same cigarette tobacco relabeled, McGoldrick said.
To avoid the tax on small cigars, the tobacco companies are calling these cigarette-like cigars "large cigars," which aren't taxed at the same high rate, he said.
They do this by adding weight to the product and by adding a little tobacco to the paper wrap, which lets them define these products as large cigars, McGoldrick said.
"The solution is to equalize the tax on all tobacco products," he said. "Every time we take a step to reduce smoking, the companies will do something to get around it."
Dr. Norman Edelman, chief medical officer at the American Lung Association, said his group "takes pride in the reduction in cigarette consumption, as our efforts have played an important role in getting taxes on cigarettes raised, and in getting the FDA its present regulatory role with regard to tobacco products.
But with the findings from the new
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