Northwest Smokers Blowing Past Cigarette Taxes

cigarettes tax PORT ORCHARD, Wash. — Walk into any store to see what current cigarette smokers live with every day — sticker shock.

Partly because of rising taxes, one pack of cigarettes can now cost more than $7.

But now, one Northwest company seems to have found a way around some of the highest taxes simply by changing the way they sell tobacco.

At D-I-Y Tobacco, the goal is to have customers do it all themselves.

The Port Orchard, Wash., company sells customers bulk tobacco and then lets them use a machine that churns out cigarettes.

The Kitsap Sun reports the cost of materials and the use of the machine works out to about $33 for 200 cigarettes, which means the price is 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of commercially manufactured cigarettes.

The bulk of the savings occur because by rolling the cigarettes themselves, smokers pay at a different level of taxes.

But the smoking sign might not be lit for long.

A spokesman for the state’s Department of Revenue, Mike Gowyrlow, says the department is awaiting a federal court decision on whether such do-it-yourself businesses constitute manufacturing. Such a ruling would increase the cost of the cigarettes.


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