Ann Marie Bossard, co-owner of the Anthracite Newstand in Wilkes-Barre, has found the sales of flavored tobacco products increase as the cost of cigarettes has jumped. Youth and women are the major customers.
As she said about the wide range of flavored cigars now offered, Avery Bradford arrived to purchase a five-pack of cigars.
The 18-year-old from Wilkes-Barre said he likes the flavored cigars and the price of $4.79 is less than the price of most cigarettes. He said that his friends also prefer the flavored-tobacco products.
Bradford is a great instance of why Pennsylvania and other states fail when considering battling tobacco industry and blocking companies from marketing products to youth.
At $1.60, Pennsylvania is far below rates in nearby states including Maryland ($2); New Jersey ($2.70) and New York, which has $4.35. The Keystone State has a high ranking in comparison to many Southern states where tobacco is the king of the crops. Rates below a dollar are in 20 states.
Pennsylvania is the only state that does not tax cigars, smokeless tobacco and pipe tobacco, though it considers small cigars to be cigarettes for taxation reasons.
And cigars, smokeless tobacco and pipe tobacco are being sold to youngsters and helping tobacco firms continue to derive benefits.
“It is seen a market changes from cigarettes to reduce taxed and consequently more affordable tobacco products. Therefore candy-flavored cigars and smokeless products are attracting new, young customers,” said Paul G. Billings of the American Lung Association.
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