A measure that would ban flavored cigarette wrappers passed the legislature this spring. It would make selling the wrappers a crime punishable by a fine of up to one thousand dollars. Various legislators say the wrappers appeal to kids and facilitate drug use. But at least one of the companies that makes them say the legislation was an effort from other firms to get rid of competition.
It’s not a hard argument to win: tobacco and kids are two things that shouldn’t go together.
Many lawmakers argue tobacco companies with sugary flavors added to their products should have to quit selling them in the state.
But a recent proposal would only target flavored cigar wrappers, not flavored cigars.
Ron Tully works for one of the companies that makes the wrappers. It’s based in Kentucky. He says tobacco companies pushed the legislation to lessen competition:
RON TULLY: “It’s very unfortunate that Illinois is prepared to pick winners and losers in the tobacco industry. I know no one likes tobacco but it’s somewhat unfair that because we’re an out-of-state company our product is being targeted.”
Still, critics say tobacco products that appeal to kids should be banned, and that the wrappers also facilitate drug use, like smoking marijuana. The measure is awaiting the Governor’s action.