Companion bills recently introduced in the Minnesota legislature would tax little cigars at the same rates as cigarettes.

Senate Bill 134 and House Bill 284, respectively introduced on January 28, 2013 and February 4, 2013, would change the Minnesota excise tax definition of cigarettes to encompass little cigars.

The definition of “cigarette” would be expanded to include any roll of tobacco than weighs less than 4.5 pounds per thousand.  The definition of cigarette also would be expanded to include a roll of tobacco likely to be purchased by consumers as a cigarette, unless the product is wrapped in whole-leaf tobacco and does not contain a cigarette-like filter.

The Minnesota bill could harbinge a trend among states and the federal government seeking to capture more tax revenue by taxing small cigars at a higher rate.

For questions and/or comments, please contact Bryan Haynes, at 804.697.1420 or by email.