A bill that would tax mini cigars at the same rate as cigarettes passed through the House 40-28 Wednesday night despite some concerns about a fiscal note and an analysis that showed a negative economic impact to business.
Rep. Christopher Herrod, R-Provo, said SB262 brings equality to the selling of tobacco products.
“If it smokes like a cigarette … tastes like a cigarette, it should be taxed like a cigarette,” Herrod said as he held up a pack of cigarettes and the pack of mini-cigars.
But some lawmakers worried about the cost to business.
According to the fiscal note, businesses dealing in certain tobacco-related products, a decrease of $364,500 could hit them in 2012 and they could face another hit of $708,900 in 2013.
Rep. Jackie Biskupski, D-Salt Lake City, said “they are a very different product” and that because mini cigars — also sometimes called little cigars — don’t sell at the same quantity as cigarettes, it was unfair to impose the same tax rate on them.
If made law, it would take effect July 1.