Maryland - NO New Taxes on Low-Price Cigars YET.. -

November 24, 2007 - State lawmakers increased taxes on cigarettes during the special session, but the pipe tobacco flavored cigars such as Black & Mild slipped though their fingers. (These usually inexpensive cigars are also called "loosies" because they can be sold individually or in packs.) The legislation would have required retailers to sell the cigars in packs of five or more - not individual cigars. Like cigarettes, they would have been taxed $1 per pack of five to 10 cigars and $2 per pack of 11 to 20. But opponents said the legislation unfairly singled out the Black & Mild (B&M) brand. We believe it's unfair to target a single tobacco product brand, to tax it differently than its competitors," said David Sutton, a spokesman for Philip Morris, which owns the B&M brand. Philip Morris recently acquired John Middleton, Inc. the maker of B&M. (In 1968, John Middleton launched the first cigar ever to be made of pipe tobacco. Today, the B&M brand has the best-selling cigar package (the 5's pack) in the U.S. And our other pipe tobacco cigars are all good sellers. These brands are Cherry Blend, Gold & Mild, Prince Albert's Soft & Sweet Vanilla, and Prince Albert's Soft Cherry Vanilla. Each of these brands is available in a five-pack and the 25 upright package.) B&M and other similar products like Swisher Sweets have wide appeal amongst black youth. The Maryland House felt the issue of pipe tobacco flavored cigars would be better dealt with separately, along with the tax on moist snuff. ("Cheap Cigars Escape Taxation Despite Increase On Cigarettes" by Andy Zieminski, Southern Maryland Online, 11/23/2007) Black & Mild is the most popular brand of cigars for smokers 12 and older. Nearly a quarter of 18- to 24-year-old blacks in the Baltimore smoke B&M cigars.
Black & Milds in Baltimore, Baltimore City Health Dept., 10/2007.