Sep. 23 2011
Washington, D.C. — The Wisconsin Department of Revenue today has taken an important step to protect the state's kids and health by directing that roll-your-own cigarettes be taxed at the same rate as regular cigarettes. We applaud Governor Scott Walker and Department of Revenue Secretary Richard G. Chandler for their leadership in acting to protect health and fairly enforce the state's laws. Roll-your-own cigarettes are cigarettes and should be taxed at the same rates as cigarettes, especially as they are just as addictive and deadly as regular cigarettes. Today, Wisconsin has become a leader in addressing this emerging issue.
The proliferation of cheap roll-your-own cigarettes, which seek to evade higher taxes on regular cigarettes, poses both a serious public health problem that encourages more smoking and a serious budgetary problem that is costing Wisconsin and other states much-needed revenue. Because roll-your-own cigarettes are currently so cheap and under-taxed, they are attractive to price-sensitive kids and encourage smokers to switch rather than quit when faced with higher cigarette taxes. The result is more smoking, and more smoking-related death, disease and health care costs.