For more information on these issues, see below:
In recent years, some in the public health community have expressed concern that tobacco products with characterizing flavors other than tobacco are packaged, advertised, and marketed in a manner that may appeal to youth.
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As excise taxes increase, so does the price of tobacco products. Criminal organizations exploit these higher costs by selling smuggled counterfeit, illegally-imported and stolen tobacco products for their own financial gain. This illicit trade is a concern for our business, law enforcement and regulatory authorities, as well as the legitimate wholesale and retail trade. This illicit activity deprives governments of tax revenue and hurts law-abiding businesses.
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Many states tax smokeless tobacco products using the “ad valorem” method of taxation—a percentage of the wholesale price. USSTC supports legislation to convert the method of taxation on moist smokeless tobacco (MST) to a method that is more appropriate to these products. In particular, we believe MST products should be taxed by weight.
USSTC supports weight-based taxation of MST because it will:
- establish tax equity for MST products of equal tobacco weight;
- tax MST in the same manner as the federal tax on MST and consistent with how state excise taxes are collected on other products;
- create a more stable and predictable MST tax revenue for states;
- reduce the complex administrative burden on states, wholesalers, and retailers; and
- remove the tax subsidy for lower-priced products.
USSTC opposes MST excise tax increases that: 1) are unfair to adult tobacco consumers; 2) create additional incentives for contraband and counterfeit tobacco product trafficking; 3) harm states by increasing incentives for adult tobacco consumers to buy tobacco products through lower-tax or untaxed revenues; 4) are costly to legitimate businesses, including retailers and wholesalers; and 5) do little to solve systemic state budget problems and can lead to less stability in the states' finances.
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USSTC supported legislation that would provide for tough but reasonable federal regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In June 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (FSPTCA), granting the FDA federal regulatory authority over tobacco products. Under this law, FDA has authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, “roll-your-own” tobacco and smokeless tobacco products, and may extend its authority to regulate other tobacco products such as cigars and pipe tobacco.
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USSTC believes that active participation at all levels of government is vital to our business and to our democracy. We advocate on policy issues relevant to our company by engaging responsibly with government officials, retailers, wholesalers, suppliers, consumers, employees and many other stakeholders.
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Kids should not use tobacco products. As a manufacturer of products intended for adults, USSTC believes that we have an important role to play in preventing underage tobacco use.
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USSTC is opposed to legislation that would prohibit certain classes of retail stores from selling tobacco products. Such legislation deprives businesses of the opportunity to sell a legal product, unfairly shifts business away from some retailers to others—with no public policy benefit—and imposes an unnecessary inconvenience on adult consumers.
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