Letter: "Little cigars" must be reclassified as cigarettesAs youth residents of southwest Minnesota and members of Partners in Prevention, we were excited to join Southwest C.H.I.P for the 2012 Day at the Capitol. We appreciated being able to meet with Sen. Doug Magnus and Rep. Joe Schomacker.
By: Nobles-Rock Partners in Prevention, Worthington Daily Globe
As youth residents of southwest Minnesota and members of Partners in Prevention, we were excited to join Southwest C.H.I.P for the 2012 Day at the Capitol. We appreciated being able to meet with Sen. Doug Magnus and Rep. Joe Schomacker.
More than 300 Minnesotans came together in St. Paul to meet with their legislators, fight back against the tobacco industry and keep health a top priority this legislative session. One of the things we asked of our legislators was to close the loophole on so-called “little cigars” and support efforts to reclassify “little cigars” as what they really are — cigarettes.
Little cigars look and smoke like regular cigarettes, but because they have tobacco in the rolling paper, they are misclassified as “other tobacco products” and are not regulated and taxed like cigarettes. Little cigars, however, are every bit as dangerous and every bit as addictive. We know this firsthand as many of our friends have started smoking “little cigars” because they are cheap and taste like candy. They have fallen prey to the tobacco industry’s manipulative marketing and will soon be addicted, lifelong smokers. They will be replacements for the 1,200 smokers who die every day in this country.
A few weeks after our Day at the Capitol, an amendment to the omnibus tax bill was introduced that would have closed the “little cigar” loophole. We were very disappointed to see that the amendment did not pass on a largely party-line vote.
It is time we close the loophole and regulate little cigars for what they are — cigarettes. We hope our lawmakers will see that this issue needs to remain a priority.
Nobles-Rock Partners in Prevention
Katlyn Sandbulte, Natalie Leuthold, John Luze and Haley VanWyhe (Hills-Beaver Creek); Abby Pierce, Kristen Reisdorfer, Cole Walgrave and Hailey Sommers (Luverne); Travis Kvaale, Luke Werner, Abby Drenth, Kelsey Noerenberg and Jessica Buntjer (Ellsworth); Jase Pater, Ashley Balster, Brenda Parsley, Austyn Thier, Leah Mulder and Karly Kramer (Adrian)