For more information on these issues, see below:
In recent years, some in the public health community have expressed concern that tobacco products with characterizing flavors other than tobacco are packaged, advertised, and marketed in a manner that may appeal to youth.
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As excise taxes increase, so does the price of tobacco products. Criminal organizations exploit these higher costs by selling smuggled, counterfeit, illegally-imported and stolen tobacco products for their own financial gain. This illicit trade is a concern for our business, law enforcement and regulatory authorities, as well as the legitimate wholesale and retail trade. This illicit activity deprives governments of tax revenue and hurts law-abiding businesses.
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Many states tax cigars using the “ad valorem” method of taxation—a percent of the wholesale price. The federal government taxes cigars using a percent of price as well. The ad valorem tax method provides a competitive advantage to lower-priced products, is unfair to adult consumers, and can create additional instability for the states in the collection of tax revenues.
Middleton supports legislation to convert the method of taxation on cigars to a method that is more appropriate to these products. In particular, we believe cigars should be taxed by unit (per cigar). We also believe that “little cigars”—which share many similarities with cigarettes in their appearance, packaging, and marketing—should be taxed at the same rate as cigarettes.
Middleton opposes cigar excise tax increases that: 1) are unfair to adult tobacco consumers; 2) create additional incentives for contraband and counterfeit tobacco product trafficking; 3) harm states by increasing incentives for adult tobacco consumers to buy tobacco products through lower-tax or untaxed revenues; 4) are costly to legitimate businesses, including retailers and wholesalers; and 5) do little to solve systemic state budget problems and can lead to less stability in the state's finances.
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Middleton believes that active participation at all levels of government is vital to our business and to our democracy. We advocate on policy issues relevant to our company by engaging responsibly with government officials, retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, consumers, employees and many other stakeholders.
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Kids should not smoke or use tobacco products. As a manufacturer of products intended for adults, Middleton believes that we have an important role to play in preventing underage tobacco use.
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Middleton is opposed to legislation that would prohibit certain classes of retail stores from selling tobacco products. Such legislation deprives businesses of the opportunity to sell a legal product, unfairly shifts business away from some retailers to others—with no public policy benefit, and imposes an unnecessary inconvenience on adult consumers.
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John Middleton actively supported legislation that gave the FDA federal regulatory authority over tobacco products. Under this law, FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, “roll-your-own” tobacco, smokeless tobacco products, cigars, pipe tobacco and e-vapor products.