From the killing-yourself-on-the-cheap file: The Wall Street Journal reports that cigarette smokers who have been burned by a massive tax hike on their cancer habit are turning to shops that will roll cigarettes for you. Evidently if you buy a carton of Marlboros that were put together at a plant, that’s taxable. But if you go to a shop that employs a machine that can crank out the equivalent of a carton in eight minutes using “pipe” tobacco, then that’s not subject to the levy.
Some loose-tobacco makers and retailers say they are doing nothing wrong and that Congress created the problem by raising the excise tax on rolling tobacco—typically used by smokers with lower incomes—by more than 2,000%. "I don't think the founding fathers of this country meant for taxes that could put companies out of business," said Jeff Martin, general manager of Rouseco Inc., a pipe and rolling tobacco maker in Kinston, N.C.
It is hard to argue with the sizable savings. The cost at on Illinois shop that provides the service: $21 a carton. Which is less than half the cost of the same amount of Marlboros. Our advice: Don't worry about the tax issues and/or sticking it to the man. Just quit. Cold turkey.