Should Smokers Have To Pay The Full Tax If They Roll Their Own Cigarettes?

Since state and local governments began slapping heavy taxes on cigarettes, a number of smokers have managed to pay less by buying loose tobacco and rolling their own. But as a growing number of stores have begun offering free-to-use roll-your-own machines that take the loose material and spit out a pile of smokes that look like they came straight out of the carton, some lawmakers are crying foul.

“It’s a willful attempt to evade the tax that is in Massachusetts,” says State Senator James Timilty to WBZ-TV. “We should shut them down.”

A man who sells some of the roll-your-own machines to stores figures that Massachusetts is losing out on around $13 million/year while the feds miss out on $5 million in taxes that would have been collected had people bought pre-manufactured cigarettes instead.

He says it’s just smart smokers making a sound financial decision: “[T]here is a law on the books that a lot of people were not aware of, and that as the public becomes more aware of it, the more they are taking advantage of it.”

Cigarettes For $3 A Pack? Roll Your Own [WBZ-TV]