“Backpack Tobacco Act” – WAATPN
The Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) applauds the efforts of Rep. Garey Bies (R—Sister Bay) for drafting legislation that would close several tobacco tax loopholes that allow the popular candyflavored cigars, sold by many retailers in the African American community, to dodge cigarette taxes.
Dubbed the “Backpack Tobacco Act,” this bill would close the price gap that currently enables the tobacco industry to sell these products as “little cigars,” so they are cheaper and more affordable for teens.
The bill is called the Backpack Tobacco Act because it is aimed at keeping these harmful tobacco products out of the backpacks, back pockets and bodies of Wisconsin teens.
These ‘candy’ cigars are cigarettes wrapped in brown paper that come in flavors such as grape, cherry and chocolate.
However, because they are marketed as “cigars,” a loophole in the current cigarette tax law allows them to be sold for as little as one dollar rather than the $6 to $8 per pack charged for regular cigarettes.
Moreover, this legislation would also require that these kid-friendly tobacco products be kept behind retail counters, instead of at the end of candy aisles or at checkout counters.
Over the past several years, the WAATPN has worked to educate the community about the blatant marketing tactics employed by the tobacco industry that specifically target tobacco products to teens—particularly the deceptive, flavored products. Studies have shown that price is one of the most effective ways of deterring youth from using tobacco products.
The bright packaging of the cigars, attractive flavors and affordability are appealing to teens.
The bold leadership exhibited by Rep. Bies is invaluable to the WAATPN, as we continue to work toward making Wisconsin smoke-free, while keeping dangerous tobacco products out of the hands of our youth.
Coordinator, Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network
Read More! - Related Articles:
Popular Interests In This Article: Michael Campbell