Keep Small Tobacco Stores in Business

cigarette

Target: United States Congress

Goal: Repeal excessive taxes on stores that feature roll-your-own cigarette machines.

Recently, an addition to a highway bill in Montana essentially made stores with point of sale cigarette rolling machines pay obscene tax sums. So obscene are these tax sums that many of these small businesses are being forced to close their doors for good. Small tobacco stores have been investing in costly machines that will roll 200 cigarettes in just under ten minutes. These machines are, in effect, rented to customers so that they can roll their own cigarettes in the store. A carton of these cigarettes will typically amount to approximately half the cost of a carton of commercial brand cigarettes.

The tobacco and paper tubes that are typically used to roll these cigarettes aren’t subject to the same chemical manipulation that big tobacco companies willfully embrace. While there is no such thing as a safe cigarette, the tobacco used in this process will typically be free from methanol, cadmium, hexamine, ammonia, arsenic, toluene, strychnine, and other deadly toxins. For many people, these store rolled cigarettes have quickly become a healthier, more economical, and convenient alternative to smoking commercial brand cigarettes.

Some are starting to speculate that this was a move played by a big tobacco company as it is a risk to their assets to have a small business selling a carton of cigarettes for half the price of their cartons. Coincidentally or not, Max Baucus, senior United States Senator from Montana, received a large donation from the parent company to Phillip Morris just before the highway bill was pushed through Congress. These small tobacco stores already pay taxes on the tobacco they use to roll the cigarettes. It does not follow that they should have to pay an excise tax on top of the taxes they already paid for the tobacco.

Sign this petition to urge Congress to repeal the addition to the Montana highway bill and reclassify these stores as retailers rather than manufacturers so that they don’t have pay the unnecessary excise tax that is keeping them from staying in business.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear United States Congress,

Recently, the Montana Highway Bill was pushed through Congress. Along with creating 14,000 jobs in the transportation industry and resolving a dilemma within tuition costs for students, it also imposes a large excise tax on stores that feature roll-your-own cigarette machines.

Small stores across the country have been investing in costly machines that will roll 200 cigarettes in just under ten minutes. These machines are essentially rented to customers while they roll their cigarettes in the store. A carton of these cigarettes will typically amount to about half the cost of any commercial brand carton of cigarettes.

The cigarettes that are produced from these rolling machines are not subject to the same chemical manipulation that big tobacco companies embrace willfully. There is no such thing as a safe cigarette, but the paper tubes and tobacco that are usually used to roll these cigarettes are free from methanol, cadmium, hexamine, ammonia, arsenic, toluene, strychnine, and other toxins.

Max Baucus, senior United States Congressman from Montana, received donations from the parent company to Phillip Morris not long before the Montana Highway Bill was introduced to congress. This is leading many to speculate that this addition to the bill was a move played by big tobacco. For Phillip Morris, it would be a risk that is not worth contending with to have a competitor selling a healthier product for half the price.

These store owners already pay taxes on the tobacco that they use in the rolling machines. Therefore, it does not follow that they should have to pay an excise tax on top of the taxes they already paid. We need to reclassify these stores as retailers rather than manufacturers so that they don’t have the unnecessary excise tax imposed upon them and they can continue to stay in business.

Sincerely,
[Your Name Here]

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57 Signatures

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