By Bob Tate

freedom1Hold onto your pipes people, here it is.
On January 13, 2010, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and co-sponsor Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) introduced bill H.R. 4439 to congress to raise the federal pipe tobacco tax from $2.8311US per pound to $24.78US per pound and “To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose the same rate of tax on pipe tobacco as is imposed on roll-your-own tobacco.”

At the time of this article, this has not been reported by any news agency. This seems to be the way that all anti-tobacco legislation has been happening as of late. “Do not report on it until is has already passed” and I am sick of them sneaking their laws in and not letting the public know until after it is passed.

If this bill passes, the average increase to your favorite blends will be about:
$2.43US per 50gr
$2.74US per 2oz
$4.86US per 100gr
$10.98US per 8oz
$21.95US per 16oz
$24.15US per 500gr
These prices would be added onto the price you are currently paying for those amounts of pipe tobacco. So with the average price of 100gr tin McClelland Frog Morton being about $13.20US, the new price would be $18.06US! That is outrageous!


The following is the exact wording of Bill H.R. 4439:

H. R. 4439
To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose the same rate
of tax on pipe tobacco as is imposed on roll-your-own tobacco.


JANUARY 13, 2010
Mr. COHEN (for himself and Mr. DOGGETT) introduced the following bill;
which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means


To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to impose
the same rate of tax on pipe tobacco as is imposed
on roll-your-own tobacco.

1     Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa
2 tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
4    This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Tobacco Tax Parity
5 Act of 2010’’.
7                     RATE PARITY.
8    (a) IN GENERAL.—Subsection (f) of section 5701 of
9 the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by striking
10 ‘‘$2.8311 cents’’ and inserting ‘‘$24.78’’.

1    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE.—The amendments made by
2 this section shall apply to articles removed (as defined in
3 section 5702(j) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986)
4 after the date of the enactment of this Act.


I am so angry right now that steam is coming out of my ears! I am very angry at the Government, the Politicians, our so called Representatives, junk science, and tobacco users. Yes, I said tobacco users; especially pipe and cigar smokers! But more on that in a moment; first will be my thoughts on the government and taxes.

I am very sick and tired of the financial raping and pillaging of the government through taxes that are unfairly placed on a certain group of individuals, namely tobacco users. These extraordinarily high tobacco taxes being levied are preposterous, out of hand, and simply unfair. I am also angry about the second class citizenship that people who enjoy tobacco have been labeled with. What happened to ‘all men are created equally’?

I am very angry at the way that our government is handling the current economical situation and unemployment rate. Instead of figuring out a way to create more jobs, they are more worried about their anti-tobacco agenda and actually removing jobs from the work force. When SCHIP was implemented, there were quite a few retail tobacconist stores that were forced to close creating more people without jobs. The raise in taxes devastated the Roll-Your-Own tobacco industry. Now with this new tax on pipe tobacco, they are going to devastate the pipe tobacco industry causing more jobs to be lost and more small businesses to close. Add in all of the smoking bans and you have even more lost revenue to other businesses such as bars and restaurants.

Don’t get me wrong, I agree that non-smokers should have a right to go and enjoy themselves at a smoke free environment. But the government should let the choice of whether to allow smoking or not be left up to the business owners and not be forced on them by the government. They force smokers outside in all kinds of weather and then want to start banning smoking outside as well. Enough is enough!

I am very angry, sick, and tired of tobacco users not standing up for themselves and allowing all of this to happen! I am even angrier at cigar and pipe smokers because they are the ones who began dividing smokers into different sects by thinking that the way that they choose to enjoy tobacco products make them a little better and different than cigarette smokers. How separate do pipers feel from RYO smokers now? I don’t give a crap if smoking cigarettes are unhealthier than smoking a pipe. It is about allowing people to make their own decisions. Pipers might think that smoking a pipe is fine and doesn’t have many negative affects, but I guarantee you that the anti’s don’t care. They want all tobacco gone.

The first thing that a lot of pipers are going to say is; “I knew that the RYO cigarette manufactures and smokers would ruin it for pipe smokers”. This is utter hog wash and, quite frankly, BS! The extraordinarily high taxes should have never been put on RYO tobacco in the first place. Do you really blame the RYO companies for trying to stay in business and not have to close down? A lot of pipe smokers seem to forget that TOBACCO IS TOBACCO. The same tobacco that is in RYO is the same tobacco used for pipe tobacco. There is still Virginia, Burley, Oriental, etc. in RYO tobacco; it is just processed a little differently. I agree that manufactured cigarettes have a lot of additives in them, but almost all RYO tobacco have none. It is just tobacco. What gives pipe and cigar smokers the right to think that they can smoke tobacco for cheaper than other people? If you want to get technical, all tobacco should be taxed the same and I guess the government is trying to do that.

I am angry that for so many years pipe smokers have been trying to hide in the shadows and stay hidden from the anti-tobacco fight. I have actually read people post that on forums. They would say; “Pipers are such a small group, I’m sure they won’t come after us”. That strategy didn’t work too well, did it? They still came after pipe tobacco and will continue to do so. Systematic attacks on tobacco, one step at a time and cigars will be next. I know that the Cigar Rights of America (CRA) is trying to fight the good fight, but they need to start including other forms of tobacco. WE NEED TO STOP SEPARATING OURSELVES! Manufactured cigarettes, RYO tobacco, and with this new tax, pipe tobacco have been conquered. That will only leave cigars. We are steadily losing ground and are definitely losing the war with the selfish, think about myself, attitudes. Cigarette and RYO tobacco users don’t care now. Why should they? They are probably happy now that pipe smokers are feeling their pain.

Stop crying, whining, and complaining on online forums and message boards and complain to the people that matter; the government! Stop using the excuse that they won’t listen. If enough people complain, they will have to listen. Even if they don’t, at least you went down swinging!
Stop talking about what you are going to do when tobacco prohibition happens and try to STOP it from happening!
Stop separating yourself from other tobacco users and stand up for all tobacco users and unite in this fight!
We have to put our collective voices together and fight against this forceful removal of making our own choices and being told what to do!
If we don’t fight for ourselves, how can we expect other people to fight for us?

I fear that it might be too late to do anything about it because the anti’s have such a strong foothold and head start, but I am still going to fight until the end! We as tobacco users need to make 2010 the year that we stand up against all of the injustices that have been done to us and start taking our rights back! Join the CRA and once you have joined, lobby them to start including other forms of tobacco. We need a unified organization like the NRA (National Rifle Association). They don’t just stand up for the rights of rifle owners; they stand up for the rights of ALL firearm owners. They are unified in their efforts to protect the rights of all firearm owners not just a portion of them. We need to do the same!

In conclusion, I would like to direct you to one of my previous articles; Divided We Fall – The Self Segregation of Smokers. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest that you do. We need to unite and fight, not divide and segregate!

In this spot, I would normally put ‘Happy Puffing!’ But in this case I am putting:




46 Responses to “Bill Introduced to Further Raise Federal Taxes on Pipe Tobacco”

  1. Kevin said:

    This is absurd! Thanks for getting the information up as soon as we got it Bob.

    Excellent commentary.

    There will be more to come from our side on this.

  2. group7 said:

    Thanks for doing a great job on getting the word out. No matter how much tax our government levies the waste and abuse suck it up before it’s collected. We have become the government that we use to fight against. I think our tobacco companies need to get off their butt and make some noise. Everybody needs to make their voice heard. I say Chicago 2010 in the tent.

  3. Bob said:

    I agree that we need to use Chicago as a meeting place, but we have to start fighting this now, before Chicago.
    We need to start organizing against these unfair taxes.
    We should have discussions at all of the shows and Chicago is a great place to start!

  4. Kevin said:

    We have set up an online petition that will automatically send emails to your Senators and Congressmen. It looks up the right people and automatically sends it for you.

    This is free.

    I sprung for the $3 deal to also mail a printed letter.

  5. group7 said:

    Thanks Kevin. I signing up as soon as I send this. I also ordered “Velvet Glove Iron Fist” from Amazon. Lets all see what we can do to build up some steam with good information. Thanks again

  6. dgifford said:

    as a direct result of the ACTION EMAIL, I learned, responded and forwarded out to my list. I was #4 in Colorado, two of my codger parters were #5 and #6.

    Thanks Bob, you are an amazing advocate. PipeSmoking Tea Party anyone?

  7. harleyrider1978 said:

    This will assure the largest tobacco blackmarket in american history!!!

  8. [...] Re: Congress introduces a 775% increase on Pipe Tobaco Bob Tate article on Proposed Federal Tax Increase on Pipe Tobacco (Bill H.R. 4439) | With Pipe and Pen [...]

  9. Would have been nice to have your attention when we were fighting this a year ago with the SCHIP bill: the same 2,000% tax increase as on RYO tobacco. ::sigh:: Unfortunately pipe smokers are now in the position of Martin Niemoller’s last minority: they’re knocking on your door now, and there’s no one left. See Obama lie, blatantly to the entire country on national TV, about this and then think about what you can do. Hint: if you’re going to do anything at this point, it better be a lot. See:

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  10. Sorry… I’d like to add that my browser evidently SKIPPED opening up the main article here where the writer very clearly expressed and supported the sort of frustration I just expressed in my post.

    - MJM

  11. Audrey Silk said:


    Founder, NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (C.L.A.S.H.)

  12. pstlpkr said:

    This is a copy of my comment on the petition to my Representatives.

    I am a pipe smoker. I do not smoke “coffing nails”. I receive compliments rather than scorn for my occasional indulgence. I am again outraged by this “grab-all-we-can” Democratically controlled Congress.
    As a voter and one who does not smoke the so-called tobacco that cigarette manufacturers put into their products, I ask that you please do all that is possible to stop this totally outrageous attempt to label my fellow pipe smokers and me as second class citizens, in this country where our forefathers fought to drive and keep this type of government from the lives of our citizenry.
    Albert Einstein, while teaching a class, put cigarette tobacco (offered by a student) in his pipe because he had no pipe tobacco on his person at the time. Before lighting his pipe said “we may have a just made a significant discovery”. (a paraphrased quotation) He was immediately crest-fallen upon discovery that cigarette and pipe tobaccos are not interchangeable.

    I respectfully request that you as my Representative Law Makers vote NO, and that you put forth every effort you can to stop H.R. 4439.

  13. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by stogieguys: Why is it that when politicians seek to “equalize” tax rates, they always mean raise the lower rate 2 match the high 1?

  14. aeronca7acman said:

    GUYS SORRY ITS STILL VERY CHEAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Let me put it this way I live in Canada I can go to the USA ( Michigan ) and Buy 6 Bags of Smokers Pride Whiskey Pipe Tobacco @ $15.99 / Bag = after 6 % US Tax $101.69 for 72 Oz’s of Pipe Tobacco !!!!!!!

    Let me put it into Perspective 1.5 Oz of Pipe Tobacco = $25.99 + 15 % Can Tax = $29.88 for Captain Black — Borkum Riff so that works out to Plus Tax = $2151.97 for the Same Thing( 6 -12 Oz Bags )!! IF I Could get it Here we only get 1.5 Oz Bags in Our Country so SORRY Guys but its Still VERY Cheap even with the Tax Hike!!! BUT We Have to Fight This its Just Wrong

    Just to Shed Some Light !!

  15. Hello my partner and myself decided to begin rolling our own cigarettes about a year ago just before the tax on RYO tobacco took effect in April. Shortly thereafter, the owner at the local tobacco shop recommended we switch to pipe tobacco as a way to evade the massive tax on loose tobacco.

    Moreover, while we are not part of the old-media, our collaborative blog is a popular read for those within the Liberty Movement, and as such we have several liberty oriented Wire service providers who provide content to both us and many old-media newspapers.

    More precisely, William Shughart, a Senior Fellow at “The Independent Institute” just penned an editorial on this very subject which came across the wire just yesterday.

    In closing, we will make sure that we do all we can to help try to help get some legs to this latest racketeering effort from the pull-peddling looters in Washington.

    Don’t Tread on Me,


  16. Mike said:

    wow wow wow, this just goes to show that old saying, ” the indians rights were taken away and you did nothing, the jews rights were taken away and you did nothing, the blackmans rights were taken away and you did nothing, then when your rights were taken away there was no one left to do anything.” i am the owner of a hookah lounge in CA , and this will definitely open the eyes of the hookah industry. i will do all i can to notify the hookah cummnity and to get as many signitures on this as possible.

  17. Gene Flake said:

    These two monkeys that decided to put this bill into a vote are not for equal rights or equality of any kind! UN American as can be to raise price from 2.48 to 24.48 is 775%? Dawg my Cats!! Whether anyone smokes or not this is outrageous and the ones that proposed it should be taken out behind the barn and given a good licking!!!! It wasn’t right for the President to up cigarettes either!…This is supposed to be America. But after living here 72 years I am beginning to think otherwise…..My kids, their kids, and great grandkids will have to put up with these kinda carring on’s in this U.S…..God bless America

  18. Very good comments! Gene, I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse. There are very few of us out there really fighting the Antis. Anyone who wants to join in the fight, remember that their weakest link is their lies. Truth and information is what can beat them. Read, download, print out and bind “The New Stiletto 2010″ at and hit them with it!

    Keep on fightin’!

    Michael J. McFadden,
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  19. Gene Flake said:

    Well thanks Michael J….you know with all of the president’s that I have lived thru, this is the most controversial and splitting the country one that I’ve had the pleasure of living with. Even tho I’m on Social Security and paying one hell of a price for secondary insurance, I don’t think our government should be in the business of trying to force us into Federal Insurance with all the possibilities of treating us or not treating us! Our forefathers wouldn’t understand this generation of folks. We are being taxed to death! I do think that after Bush 1 said new world order and his son being in office and now Obama the Rich Folks have their orders. So the puppets shall be in bed with em…it is a sad state indeed. If we could vote out this whole mess of em in Washington and get a Patriot that won’t go by their rules and get someone to protect them that are also Patriots we would have a chance….Do away with the Federal Reserve and start printing our own money we could prosper….ok just my opinion, I’m sure that the voters for Obama will not like this but I’m also beleiving that the ones that voted for him now are wishing they hadn’t……….God bless America

  20. Thomas said:

    Gene said “UN American as can be to raise price from 2.48 to 24.48 is 775%?”

    You think? First where were you help when RYO tobacco was raised 2000%+

    Second, who’s the math wiz?

    22.48 - 2.48 = $22 increase
    22/2.48 = 887% increase
    The new rate would be 987% of the old rate.

  21. Kevin said:

    Thomas said: Second, who’s the math wiz?

    Here are the actual numbers.

    The current tax per pound of pipe tobacco is 2.8311.

    The proposed new rate is 24.78.

    That is an increase of 775%.

  22. Heh… I just stumbled over a letter to the editor I wrote a while ago that’s rather relevant here. There may actually be NO price increase even if there IS a price increase!


    Dear Editor,

    Marc Kaufman’s Nov. 9th article, “Decades-Long U.S. Decrease in Smoking Rates Levels Off” makes an interesting claim.

    It claims that “The relatively unchanged price of cigarettes since 2002 is considered important” in this leveling. The reason that claim is so interesting is that just the day before, Nov. 8th, William Corr, the executive director for the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said that “Since Jan. 1, 2002, 44 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia have increased their cigarette-tax rates more than 75 times.”

    We’ve known for a long time that cigarette smoke was magical, able to travel against strong winds from nonsmoking into smoking sections, able to defeat filtration and ventilation systems capable of handling 18 wheel trucks and bubonic plague units in hospitals, and showing deadliness at levels far below any picogram level instrumentation devised by 21st century human ingenuity. But this is the first evidence we’ve seen that cigarette prices are also magical! No matter how much they’re raised, they somehow manage to stay the same!

    If only we could transfer such magic to the rest of the economy!


    Didn’t get printed. Ahhh welllll….

    - MJM

  23. Bob said:

    Thomas Said: where were you help when RYO tobacco was raised 2000%+

    Let me ask you the same thing. Where were YOU?
    Did you try to stop it from happening?

    I am tired of people asking us ‘Where were you when they did this to RYO?’.
    PipesMagazine was launched in the beginning of 2009. It was too late for us to do anything about S-CHIP. But we are here now and we are trying.

    Every one who keeps asking us where we were needs to step back and ask themselves the same question. Stop waiting around for someone to lead you and lead yourself. Take the initiative and fight for your rights instead of waiting for someone else to do it for you.

    JFK said, “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.”

    I say something similar, Ask not what other people can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself.

  24. Thomas said:


    I just quoted Gene’s numbers.
    (noticed a typo in my post, but no way to edit it. Should be 24.48 not 22.48 in the subtraction The results are correct)

    First of all I was specifically adressing Gene, who seemed agast at a 775% increase.

    As for me, I was writing and calling my representatives. Reading RYO oriented forums and blogs. Talking to everyone one I knew. Not just in 2009 but at all the prior failed attempts to raise tobacco taxes.

    I’ve been rolling my own for 12 years, with tobaccos like TOP, ZigZag, Prince Albert, Stoker’s, and People’s True Taste/Choice.
    I’ve also been a pipe smoker for 20+ years, and a cigar smoker for 15+.

    I found this post following a chain of links originating with Thomas W. Laprade newsletter being posted on a yahoo group.

    I tend not to follow pipe and cigar sites as most are (have been) too pretentious for me.

  25. Kevin said:

    Thomas said: I tend not to follow pipe and cigar sites as most are (have been) too pretentious for me.

    I invite you to join us Thomas. I don’t think we are pretentious here, and it is the last thing we want to be.

    I hope you decide to join. We would love to have you.

    Join here:

  26. Thomas said:

    I’ll give this place a chance, though I haven’t been active on any tobacco forums in a while.

    So, I’ll read a lot but probably not comment much.

  27. stdog said:

    Posting again to connect my user name and my posts above.

  28. Gene Flake said:

    Thanks for the reply on my post of the price etc….I was just trying to remember from reading but I did know that it showed the percentage, it doesn’t matter to me to what it was on price. I just know that this isn’t the proper price gouging!….and I’m 72 years old and have smoked everything from rabbit tobacco, cotton leaves…grape vines etc..etc..but I’ve noticed a lots of changing as of the last 20 years or so….I am seeing my kids ages trying to run things in the white house, congress etc….Washington! My children have more sense but I guess that they are not the norm in this day and age….40 years ago if you said something about anyones smoking you might have been knocked on yo’ arse! Now with all of the ones that don’t like anyone telling em anything are waving their hands around when you light up….this used to be the United States of America in God we trust….I say to each his own and if these beaurocrats don’t like it then do as the whiskey and outlaw tobacco!!! then see when it gets repealed…ok I’ve said bout enough and God bless each and every one of ya’ll !!!! Gene Flake

  29. stdog said:

    I’m with you 100% Gene.

    Unlike 1917, (when the Volstead Act passed over Wilson’s veto) congress depends on tobacco tax revenue far too much to ban it completely.

    They know higher taxes have little effect on smoking. It’s just a revenue stream. Small increases are little noticed too. If instead of $1 to $24 at once they went a few dollars every couple of years, it would have likely stayed under everyone’s the radar.

  30. When thinking about why bans and taxes work the way they do it’s important to rememember that we’re not dealing with some kind of single-headed black helicopter conspiracy. The people doing these things have many different motivations and powers and goals.

    Some of them want to raise money for government, some for Big Pharma, and some for their own antismoking pockets. Some are just Innocent bystanders who’ve seen too many MTV commercials about secondhand smoke or who are just Monk-like neurotics fixated on tobacco smoke. Some are trying to get back at Big Tobacco because they got sick (or thought they got sick) from smoking or because someone close to them died. Some are idealists who think the world will be better without smoking or controllers who enjoy using antismokind demands as a weapon. Some, a number that I think is much smaller than most believe, are “truly affected” in terms of being smoke-triggered asthmatics or possibly having some sort of allergic reaction to smoke (The existence of true allergy to smoke has been debated though: something to do with protein chains that couldn’t exist after burning…) And there are several others as well.

    So you’ll see some people wanting to raise taxes purely to the optimal maximum for money. Some want to raise them purely to reduce smoking. And some are aiming for both. But they all take advantage of the lies that have driven the emotions whipped up in support of smoking bans. You’ve got to fight them on all levels because they all build on and support each other.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”

  31. Bob said:


    Don’t take my post too personally. It was not directed solely at you. Over the last few weeks, we have been asked by numerous RYO/MYO smokers where have we been. After seeing that question again (even though it might not have been aimed at us), I kind of snapped.

    When I asked, “Where were YOU?” it wasn’t aimed directly at you, but more of a generalization to all of the people who have asked us this question.

    We are trying to band all tobacco users together into one single unit to fight these anti-tobacco taxes and legislation. One unified loud voice will be heard better than a bunch of individual low voices. And we seem to be taking flack for our efforts from some people.

  32. stdog said:

    No problem Bob.
    Like I said, I was asking Gene.

    You (pipe smokers collectively) are not taking flack for you efforts, more for the lack of effort in the past. Didn’t care when it was cigarettes, or RYO tobacco.

    If they were going after cigars now, how many pipe smokers would care?
    I wager not many.

  33. Kevin said:

    stdog said: If they were going after cigars now, how many pipe smokers would care?
    I wager not many.

    I think you are right and that is the one of the general problems we take issue with.

    The self segregation of smokers is allowing them to all be defeated by the anti-tobacco people.

  34. stdog said:

    I read the linked article Bob did last May (a bit after the fact).

    Also the “Don’t tread” article.

    Maybe we can do something, but my gut feeling is not. Not after the RYO tax increase.
    The pendulum has probably swung too far to come back anytime soon.

    I’ll continue to fight, just hope we can stop this assault on the people eventually.
    I know this won’t be the last attempt either way. There will be a next target.

  35. stdog said “There will be a next target.”

    Just got something in my email in the last day or two saying that Georgia wants to increase their own state pipe tobacco tax by another 150%.

    - MJM

  36. Gene Flake said:

    I’m guilty of getting in late on this tobacco issue. When Obama upped the tax for kids etc….I got very mad and looked into seeds to grow my own, then got on internet and ordered the rolling machine…went thru several machines including the electric ones which don’t do good at all….then ordered the Top O Matic and it does real good. Ordered internet tobacco in the 1lb bag..then found out could buy local at same price no shipping. Now I’m in the belief that the tobacco company’s just to survive the onslaught of higher taxes on all stuff but Pipe tobacco they started selling by truckloads…now the senator’s in DC saying hey we loosing so many millions a month on this tobacco we need to up it to same as cigarette tobacco….the Cohen fellow outta Memphis presented this bill to congress and it’s waiting to be stuck into all the other bills. I don’t believe any one group is responsible cig…pipe…chewers..etc…greed is the number one thing. I’m willing to put my X on anything that will try and get these dildo’s to understand that we don’t like this carrying on.we could get people up in washington that is true to constitution qualities and do away with the Federal Reserve…and IRS…someone that has GUTS! instead of trying to impress someone for his or her own (get ahead no matter who gets hurt) attitude we might keep our freedom with justice for all !!!! I roll cigarettes for my neighbor across the street who’s husband was in WW2 Korea and Vietnam who died with 21 years service then worked for the Army Depot 20 years and she only gets 1200 dollars month and they continually keep upping her insurance etc…she is 65 and a fine person. So I’m guilty of taking advantage of the lower price of Pipe Tobacco for her, my wife, and me to continue a habit that they say kills anyone within reach of themselves! There is so much corruption going on in government now that is purley a shame. Gene Flake

  37. The NY Times came out with a major editorial last November in favor of the pipe tobacco tax. They called it “closing a loophole” and focused, as usual, on the fake issue of waving children in the air. Here’s what I wrote them as a Letter to the Editor at the time:


    Editorial Hypocrisy….

    Your Nov. 21st Editorial about roll-your-own pipe tobacco being sold for cigarettes absolutely reeks of hypocrisy.
    You speak of $30 million a month being “lost” while never mentioning that smokers are still paying well over a hundred times that amount each month in taxes. You speak of children being attracted to the “gimmickry” of rolling shreds of tobacco after all your years of editorializing about Big Tobacco’s brand advertising being the cause of children smoking. You play the save the children card again by emphasizing “flavored tobacco - now banned in packaged cigarettes” while never mentioning that none of those cigarettes were coming from Big Tobacco or noting that the one major child-friendly flavoring those companies actually do use, menthol, was given a built in exemption all of its own.
    You end by asking “What’s the record for shutting a loophole?” How about asking “What’s the record for the largest single tax increase upon a minority group?” Does RYO tobacco’s 2,130% increase upon the poorest segment of American smokers sound like the right answer?


    Of course they didn’t print it. My general record for other newspapers around the country is about 1 out of 4 or 5 making print. Not a bad record at all. I’ve sent the NY Times roughly FORTY well-written letters to editors on the smoking issue in the last ten years. Not a SINGLE ONE was accepted for even preliminary consideration (i.e. when they call you for confirmation.)

    btw… Aside from that letter I wrote a longer analysis that I posted on some boards. After taking all the various factors into account and making truly quite reasonable estimates along the way (a bit too long for a post here I think), I discovered that my “best estimate” of how many “children” would be “saved” from smoking by the tax will be….

    Roughly 1/2 of a child per year.

    - MJM

  38. stdog said:

    I read that long post.

    It’s almost funny they way they keep shifting targets and reasoning.

    I’ve never once seen adverting for RYO tobacco, certainly not the brands I choose.
    I don’t remember ever seeing pipe tobacco adds either.
    (at least not until the internet, and then only on tobacco oriented sites)

    So they certainly aren’t advertising to kids.

    I don’t know of any teens that use RYO either.Certainly not when I was a teen, of course cigarettes were cheaper than gas back then.

    I think I’m going to try mixing my People’s True Taste and “Our Best Smoke” in my pipe tonight. PTT is just a little hotter than I like in a pipe, but OBS need something to liven it up.

  39. Robert P said:

    I have thought about this for the last couple of days since first reading about the increase. For me, pipe smoking is a luxury. I smoke one or two bowls a day. If I had to, I could do without my pipe or I could certainly cut back. In my humble opinion, my pipe and my whiskey are exactly the kind of things that SHOULD be taxed, just like yachts, luxury cars, cruises, high end hotels and first class plan tickets, to name but a few. The truth is that if my pipe tobacco increased 5 fold in price, I would still smoke it. Most of us would. It is not a necessity. Go ahead and tax it. I will pay.

  40. Jeff W said:

    Right or wrong the government has stated that tobacco use drains the economy due to added cost in health care. They have used nice catch phrases like “for the children” and “saves lives” to disguise their real agenda which is revenue increase. The American public as a whole has accepted this at face value. This allows them to tax it unfairly with what amounts to impunity.

    I see a larger problem than just extreme overtaxing of tobacco. These “For Our Own Good” campaigns are spilling over into other facets of our lives. Taxes on snack foods, alcohol, soda, ammunition, tanning beds, etc. All of these things are aimed towards 1 goal: increase in government coffers. All of these things also allow government to decide what’s best for us or we must pay a penalty to decide for ourselves.

    Attitudes like the one in the above post by Robert P (nothing personal) truly worry me. It essentially says that it is OK to pick a segment of society and place an unequal tax on them even though what they are doing is perfectly legal. It basically gives government the power to make us pay for decisions that run counter to what they deem moral or for our own good.

    Personally I think “sin taxes” as a whole are completely wrong and are an erosion of our individual rights. I think that apposing sin taxes of any kind is the only way to win this war and our civil rights are the casualty if we lose.


  41. group7 said:

    Very good post Jeff W. I couldn’t agree more. I see this extending futher and further into everyones lives. (what we have left of our lives) Thanks

  42. Gene Flake said:

    Yes Jeff you do have a very good reason for your concerns as I belive a lot of people would if they could get it thru their thick skulls that this president isn’t for America. I have been reading from some of the posts about the healthcare or commonly known as ObamaCare that if it is has staying power that by year 2013 people will have to have chip installed into their bodies. Now I don’t know about you but I’m not going to have anybody put a chip into me! This is a fact….that is if’n I am…yes we are in for one hell of a mess if folks don’t wake up to this Regime….and that fellow from Memphis senator just said some mistaken or falsehoods about someone spitting on black fellow and he is the one that has introduced this upcoming voting on higher tax on the pipe tobacco….he is another nut case that should be voted out also…yes my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren will be so deep in debt that their chips will have to be turned off for non payment….God help us all !!!….I’m hoping that Reverend Manning can get lots support for his Sedition trial upcoming & put Obama behind bars or hung for his Treason! I don’t think smokers are all that bad of people either :)…..Have a goodun….Gene Flake Horn Lake, MS

  43. The pipe/cigar/tobacco retail outlets should be getting more involved in waking their customers up as well. Visit:

    and read the “New Stiletto” there and think of the impact it could have if it was made widely available to their customers.

    As for the taxes/costs question, I’d recommend these two readings:


    Realize that the first one was written over five years ago when I was finishing up Brains - things have only gotten worse since then!

    - MJM

  44. mary prefontaine said:

    Im damn angry too, this is all getting ridiculous!! Im writing to my congressmen and senators too, Im just too angry to get the right words out, any ideas out there on how to word this to get the message through to these idiots?

  45. mary prefontaine said:

    This whole thing is way out of hand and I hate politics which is what this is all about, but i will now get involved by stating how i feel about this crooked government,this isnt about saving children and people sensitive to smoke, because we all know how to go outside to smoke, this isnt about the cost of health issues because millions of people are dying from cancer, when they have never smoked a day in their lives, their are hundreds of other types of cancers killing people. and this isnt about anything more than how to make a buck off of a good minority of people. This about shutting down a million more jobs that have tobbacco printed in their stores. Why are they picking on tobbacco? Hell millions of people dye everyday from drunk drivers so why dont they pick on the alchohol industry? Why tobbacco users? This is insane and makes no sense!
    Im writing to my congressmen and senetors right now, for the first time in my life I will try to see if little ole me can really make a difference, but ill try anyway.

  46. Mary, a couple of suggestions…

    Read the material at the links I posted in the post above yours: might give you some ideas for your writing!

    Sign up for the weekly newsletters from and you’ll get a once a week email with news about the resistance to these nuts.

    Join and visit their website for tons of archived information as well as new articles that will soon be starting up there again.

    Also: if you tell me what state you’re in there might be other activists or email groups you could communicate with to help in the fight.

    Michael J. McFadden
    Author of “Dissecting Antismokers’ Brains”



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