States Wary Of Roll-Your-Own Cigarette Machines

Cigarette Machines Ever-rising state and federal taxes on cigarettes, designed to discourage use but also generate government revenue, have made a pack of smokes very, very expensive. A pack of cigarettes can cost anywhere from over $6 to over $11, depending on the state.

That leaves smokers three alternatives; pay the price, quit, or find a cheaper way to feed their habit. Increasingly, smokers are buying machines to roll their own cigarettes, much to the consternation of some state officials.

Smokers can purchase cigarette machines or cigarette injectors. These are devices used to roll tobacco into a fairly professional-looking cigarette.

Two types of machines

There are two types of cigarette machines: the hand-held and the table-top models. They require cigarette tubes and replicate the store bought cigarettes.

Table-top cigarette injectors are reportedly able to produce the best homemade cigarette possible. Nearly all tubes have the filters in the tube. There are available from a variety of retail sources, as well as on eBay, where found models for around $50.

Arkansas, among the states worried about this consumer trend, has taken the first step, approving a law that effective bans their use in the state. Act 836 of 2011, signed into law last week, was part of Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDanial’s legislative package. The Act bans commercial cigarette rolling machines, effective Jan. 1, 2012.

Same health risks

“Cigarettes from these machines may have a lower cost to smokers because of tax differences, but they carry the same high health risks. We don’t want these machines in our state.” McDaniel said. “I’m grateful to the General Assembly for also recognizing the potential harm to public health and providing broad, bipartisan support for this Act.”

Besides consumers, McDaniel said some retail cigarette vendors operate these machines to exploit the tax discrepancies between “roll-your-own” cigarette tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigarettes. Because of the tax differences, the lower costs for “roll-your-own” cigarettes appeal to youth and an already-addicted adult population of smokers. He said he was not aware that any stores in Arkansas had offered that service.

McDaniel said that without Act 863, the tax discrepancies would hamper the Arkansas’ long-term public health efforts.

Last summer the State of New Hampshire reclassified tobacco shops that installed cigarette-rolling machines as cigarette manufacturers, prompting a lawsuit by tobacco vendors.

$5 billion a year in lost tax revenue

The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that roll-your-own cigarettes cost states more than $5 billion annually. The Act allows the state to revoke the Arkansas business licenses of those manufacturers or wholesalers who act unlawfully in other states. Companies which pose an elevated risk of noncompliance with Arkansas law could also be required to post a bond as a condition of doing business there.

Licensed wholesalers must also provide more information about in-state sales to the Attorney General, Department of Finance and Administration and Arkansas Tobacco Control. The information will allow the agencies to target tax avoidance by retailers and consumers.

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