The basic axiom in the government taxing of rolled tobacco seems to be that you can judge a product by its wrapper. But that is not always clear, as was seen in the recent haggling over how to define little cigars in the New York State tax code.
It was a close call this month for "little cigar" smokers in the Empire State, as cigar and legislative officials struggled to draw a line between "tobacco products" and "cigarettes." The price on little cigars in New York could have skyrocketed with the passing of the 2008—2009 $121.7 billion state budget, which would have classified "little cigars" as cigarettes in the tax code and levied a new tax on little cigars, raising the price considerably. But in the end, the new definition of little cigars was repealed, and the petite sticks dodged a bullet.For more on this story, see the current issue of Cigar Insider.