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TN may boost tax on 'roll-your-own' cigarettes 

Loophole has cost state $4 million in revenue since 2009
Jump to full article: The Tennessean, 2012-05-03
Author: Written by Elizabeth Bewley Tennessean Washington Bureau


Dozens of Tennessee tobacco shops have taken advantage of a tax loophole that allows them to sell roll-your-own cigarettes at a deep discount, but those days may be drawing to a close.

Tennessee lawmakers this week passed a bill that would require roll-your-own retailers to pay a licensing fee and a cigarette tax on each carton they sell.

And proposals in Congress, including one sponsored by U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin, would stymie the growth of roll-your-own machines by designating the smoke shops that house them as manufacturers.

The loophole has cost Tennessee almost $4 million in lost tax revenue since 2009, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Jason Wells, manager of the Cigar Parlor and Roll Smokes and Go in Hendersonville, says state and federal legislation could shut down his business and hurt the recession-weary customers who benefit from the lower prices of the roll-your-own smokes he and others sell.

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