Arizona stores feel pinch of cigarette ‘roll your own’ rule

August 20, 2012

Federal reclassification of niche tobacco sellers leads to costly new hurdles,  lack of customers

Arizona business owners who  capitalized on a booming niche market for customers who rolled their own  cigarettes face a questionable future.

The operation was simple — customers bought pipe tobacco that was cheaper  than cigarette tobacco and blended to their liking, bought paper tubes, and then  poured the tobacco into a roll-your-own machine. Out popped a carton’s worth of  freshly rolled cigarettes that cost about half the price of a store-bought  carton. Smokers came to the stores in droves, business owners  said.

But a new federal regulation contained in the 584-page federal transportation  bill added the classification of manufacturer to businesses that cater to  roll-your-own customers. Previously, they were classified as retailers. The  change is forcing owners to comply with a set of new, and costly, state and  federal regulations.

Large tobacco companies were the driving force behind the new rules, arguing  that the stores operated under an unfair tax loophole; owners of the shops  accused tobacco companies of crushing a market that kept business local.

Since it was signed into law on July 6, stores are now considered  manufacturers if they use the roll-your-own machines. But the business owners  say their machines are too slow to act as a real manufacturer. As a result, they  are unable to use the machines if they want to say within the new  regulations.

In Arizona, that means small-business owners are sitting on a $30,000 investment that they can’t  use. No businesses have applied for any of the new regulatory requirements of  cigarette Read the rest of this entry »

Register Today for the August 20th Better Choices, Better Health online workshop

August 9, 2012

CDC: Gradual drop in youth tobacco use continues, but significant problem areas remain

August 9, 2012

Press Release

For Immediate Release: August 9, 2012 Contact: Centers for Disease Control Division of News & Electronic Media, Office of Communication (404) 639-3286

Gradual drop in youth tobacco use continues, but significant problem areas remain

Surgeon General’s Report outlines key steps to further reducing tobacco use among youth

Tobacco use among American middle school and high school students showed a slow decline from 2000 to 2011, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  But when compared with other long-term studies, such as the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the steep rate of decline from 1997 to 2003 has slowed noticeably. The report published today shows that in 2011 nearly 30 percent of high school males and 18 percent of high school females used some form of tobacco. More than 8 percent of middle school males and nearly 6 percent of middle school females used some form of tobacco in 2011.

The report indicates that though tobacco use continued an 11-year downward trend, tobacco use remains high among high school students. For example, among black high school students, cigar use increased significantly from 7.1 percent in 2009 to 11.7 percent in 2011. In 2011, cigar use among high school males (15.7 percent) was comparable to cigarette use (17.7 percent). Cigar use includes the use of cigarette-like cigars that can be packaged and smoked like typical cigarettes, but are taxed at a lower rate, making them more appealing and accessible to youth.  While they contain the same toxic chemicals as cigarettes, no cigars are subject to restrictions on flavorings and misleading descriptors such as “light” or “low tar,” according to the report.

Read the rest of this entry »

CDC says graphic anti-smoking ads work, more on way

August 7, 2012

By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY

The federal government says its graphic ad campaign showing diseased smokers has been such a success that it is planning another round next year to nudge more Americans to kick the habit.

TV ad campaign: Terrie, 51, is shown getting ready in the morning, with false teeth, a wig and a hands-free electro-larynx device.
TV ad campaign: Terrie, 51, is shown getting ready in the morning, with false teeth, a wig and a hands-free electro-larynx device.
The ads, which ran for 12 weeks in spring and early summer, aimed to get 500,000 people to try to quit and 50,000 to kick the habit long-term.

“The initial results suggest the impact will be even greater than that,” says Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which spearheaded the $54 million campaign. The ads showed real Americans talking about how smoking caused their paralysis, lung removal and amputations.

He says it’s the first time the U.S. government has paid for anti-smoking ads, although some media ran them free.

The CDC doesn’t have a tally yet on how many people actually tried to quit, but it says the ads generated 192,000 extra calls — more than double the usual volume — to its national toll-free quit line, 800-QUIT-NOW, and 417,000 new visitors to, its website offering cessation tips. That’s triple the site’s previous traffic.

“We do plan to do another (campaign) next year,” Frieden says, adding that he has no details yet on the ads or their timing. He says the amount the CDC spent this year is a pittance compared with the $10 billion the tobacco industry spends annually to market its products.

The nation’s two largest tobacco companies, Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, declined to comment on the ads. Both reported solid second-quarter 2012 earnings.

Frieden says the print, broadcast and online ads struck a chord. “What we heard from people is they wished they’d seen them years ago.”

Christi Leigh Sims, 42, says she was shocked into action by the ad showing a woman whose throat cancer caused her to lose her teeth, hair and larynx, and resulted in a hole in her throat. So in late March, Sims quit — cold turkey — after about 20 years of smoking.

“I wanted to change my life now before it was too late,” says Sims, a mother of two from Arlington, Texas. “I didn’t want to look or live like that.” The ad shows a woman getting dressed with a wig and false teeth.

“We made the danger accessible and realistic,” says Eric Asche, who works for the anti-smoking group Legacy and who consulted with the CDC on the ads. “When you personalize a story, it’s powerful.”

Too powerful for some. The ads “are shocking, disgusting and too provocative — and they’ve crossed the line,” wrote stay-at-home dad Joel Mathis in a Scripps Howard News Service column. “The non-smoking majority is being subjected to an assault on our senses.”

Glenn Leshner, a University of Missouri researcher who has studied the effectiveness of anti-smoking ads in a lab setting, says they draw more attention when they feature either a health threat or disgusting images. Yet when they have both, he’s found viewers start to withdraw.

Frieden, a physician who has treated many smokers, defends the ads.

“It’s important that everyone understands the impact of smoking,” he says.

He adds that most people don’t realize that smoking causes more than lung cancer and heart disease.

Health care costs are $2,000 more each year for smokers — about 20% of U.S. adults — than for non-smokers, Frieden says, and smoking remains the leading cause of preventable deaths.

“This campaign pulled back the curtain,” he says.

Full article at

Most Web tobacco sales banned in Arizona

August 7, 2012

by Alex Stuckey
The Republic |

Face-to-face interaction is now a must when purchasing most tobacco products  in Arizona.

A law that went into effect this week bans the sale of tobacco products —  except for pipe tobacco and cigars — via the Internet  and any other method of sale that is not a face-to-face transaction.

Pipe tobacco and cigars are exempt because they do no require a stamp to  provide proof that the retailer or distributor is  in compliance with the state’s luxury-tax laws, although they are subject to the  tax, according to the law.


The state Attorney General’s Office hopes the law will curtail the purchasing  ability of children.

“Online sales of tobacco products are a major problem because no safeguards  exist to ensure that children can’t buy them,” Attorney General Tom Horne said  in a news release. “State law needs this critical update to reflect the growing  amount of Internet sales of tobacco products and the danger this presents to  children.”

Individuals who violate the law can be charged with a Class 6 felony and are  also subject to a civil penalty of up to $5,000.

Read more:

Big Cigars Offer Way for Smokers to Save

August 7, 2012
By  of the New York Times
Published: August 2, 2012

Fewer Americans are smoking cigarettes, but a growing number are turning to cigarettelike cigars that can sell for as little as seven cents apiece or to making cigarettes from inexpensive loose tobacco labeled for pipe use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

Sales of these other forms of tobacco — which are taxed at significantly lower rates than both cigarettes and tobacco specifically labeled “roll your own” — have soared in recent years, the C.D.C. said. The amount of loose pipe tobacco sold in 2011 was enough to make 17.5 billion cigarettes, a sixfold increase over the amount sold in 2008.

Meanwhile, sales of loose tobacco specifically labeled for roll-your-own use and taxed at higher rates dropped by 75 percent during the same four-year period.

“While consumption patterns of traditional cigarettes have continued to decline, when we take into account these alternative cigarettelike products, we’re seeing a lack of change in the overall consumption of burned tobacco that is being inhaled,” said Terry Pechacek, associate director for science with the C.D.C. Office on Smoking and Health in Atlanta and one of the report’s authors.

Overall consumption dropped by less than 1 percent in 2011 from 2010, he said.

Meanwhile, sales of large cigars more than doubled from 2008 to 2011, after manufacturers increased the weight of certain small cigars, enabling them to be classified as large cigars, which are taxed at a lower rate than small cigars and cigarettes, a C.D.C. commentary noted.

From 2008 to 2011, the number of small cigars sold dropped to fewer than a billion from 5.9 billion, while sales of large cigars rose to 12.9 billion from 5.7 billion.

The lower prices of these alternative products are particularly appealing to young people, for whom cost is a significant deterrent to smoking, said Michael Tynan, a public health analyst with the C.D.C. and one of the authors of the report. A recent youth risk behavior survey found that 37 percent of male high school seniors use some form of tobacco.

The labeling changes also enable the products to be laced with fruit and other flavorings that are banned for use in cigarettes and appeal to young smokers, he said. “These products are labeled differently, but in all ways they’re smoked and used as cigarettes,” he said. “People buy them at convenience stores that have machines that roll them into cigarettes with filters.”

The increased popularity of loose pipe tobacco, which is often marketed now for dual use, and of the cigarettelike large cigars seems to be directly related to a 2009 increase in the federal tobacco excise tax, which made pipe tobacco far less expensive than roll-your-own tobacco, and large cigars less heavily taxed than small cigars and cigarettes. The difference in taxes for the two types of loose tobacco is $21.95 per pound, which led manufacturers to relabel roll-your-own tobacco as pipe tobacco, while marketing it for roll-your-own use.

In addition, the Food and Drug Administration regulations that bar adding flavoring to tobacco and using labels like “light” or “low tar” do not apply to cigars and pipe tobacco, C.D.C. officials noted.

The Government Accountability Office has recommended changing the federal tobacco excise taxes to eliminate the differential taxation.

A version of this article appeared in print on August 3, 2012, on page A10 of the National edition with the headline: Big Cigars Offer Way For Smokers To Save.


Use of loose tobacco on the rise in the wake of cigarette taxes

August 3, 2012
By: Al Maciason 08/02/2012


The Centers for Disease Control says total cigarette consumption in the U.S. was down 2.5 percent from 2010 to 2011. KJZZ’s Al Macias reports says smokers are turning to other kinds of tobacco.

AL MACIAS: Smokers are finding alternatives to commercially rolled cigarettes. The CDC says consumption of pipe tobacco was up 482 percent over the last decade, much of that is being used by smokers rolling their own cigarettes. The federal tax on loose tobaccos is lower than the tax on cigarettes. Here in Arizona, state health officials say they are focusing their efforts on another kind of tobacco.

WAYNE TORMALA:  Chew. Arizona is really on par with the rest of the nation.

MACIAS: That’s Wayne Tormala with the Arizona Department of Health Services. He says their figures show about three percent of Arizonans use smokeless tobacco, but he says it’s a bigger problems in rural areas.

TORMALA: In the north and northeastern parts of the state, Coconino, Apache and Navajo counties the  rate is double or triple the state average.

MACIAS: Tormala says there is good news; Arizona saw an 11 percent drop among teen smokers over the last two years. That was the largest decrease of any state in the country.