On Wednesday evening, a grand jury announced that it would not indict a New York City police officer who, in July, killed Eric Garner, a 43 year old Staten Island resident with a history of serious health problems and father of six children. Gut wrenching video of the incident found its way online, sparking outrage due to the tactics used by police.

The tactics used during this incident, however, aren’t the only aspect causing controversy. Police suspected Garner, who had broken up a fight before being approached by officers, of selling loose cigarettes, a crime for which he’d previously been arrested. New York City’s excessively high excise tax on cigarettes has had the unintended consequence of creating a black market, a point Sen. Rand Paul (R KY) alluded to on Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC.

“I think it is hard not to watch that video of him saying ‘I can t breathe, I can t breathe’ and not be horrified by it,” Paul told Chris Matthews. “I think it is important to know that some politician put a tax of $5.85 on a pack of cigarettes so they’ve driven cigarettes underground by making them so expensive. But then some politician also had to direct the police say, ‘Hey, we want you arresting people for selling a loose cigarette.'”

“For someone to die over breaking that law, there is really no excuse for it. But I do blame the politicians. We put our police in a difficult situation with bad laws,” he added.

As Paul pointed out, New York City’s total cigarette tax is $5.85 per pack (the $4.35 state excise tax plus the $1.50 local tax). State and local officials enacted the tax to discourage smoking, but the hardest hit by high cigarette taxes are the poor, who are more likely to smoke and, unlike middle and upper class tobacco users, can’t afford healthier alternatives. A 2012 study conducted on behalf of the New York State Department of Public Health discovered that, though smoking had decreased by 20 percent between 2003 and 2010, “those with household incomes less than $25,000 had no statistically significant decline.”

“This implies that low income smokers have not been more price responsive than smokers with higher incomes. In fact, from 2003 2004 to 2010 2011, we find that the percentage of income spent on cigarettes for smokers with annual incomes less than $30,000 more than doubled (11.6% to 23.6%),” the authors explained. “This suggests that lower income smokers in New York State have not had a greater response to higher taxes than smokers with higher incomes.”

Though cigarette taxes in the Northeast are high compared to other regions in the country, New York is surrounded by states that have a much lower tax, making it relatively easy for smugglers to bring in cigarettes to sell at a cheaper price. There are also organized smugglers, including those with connections to terrorists groups, who import cheap cigarettes from other parts of the world for sale in the United States and the production of counterfeit smokes, which have been found to contain insects and human feces.

The effect of smuggling was also noticed in the New York study. “After adjusting for underreporting of self reported cigarette consumption, we find that tax paid cigarette sales capture only 55% of all cigarettes smoked in New York State,” the authors noted. “This implies that New York State loses approximately $1.4 billion in revenue as a consequence of tax evasion.” A separate analysis released earlier this year by the Tax Foundation showed that smuggled smokes accounted for nearly 57 percent of all cigarettes consumed.

Excessively high cigarette taxes may reduce smoking, but the policy creates a black market that increases enforcement burdens on police and puts them in dangerous situations. It also pulls resources away from investigating more serious crimes. None of this is to say that cigarette smuggling wouldn’t exist if taxes were lowered, but the extent to which it does exist is a result of high taxes. And, in the case of Eric Garner, enforcement turned into a deadly situation.

What is the difference between a cigar and a cigarette?

Cigarettes online Blog Archive Buying cigarettes and tobacco in spain, cheap cigarettes from spain
Post 21

I have yet to see the article that describes how filters are far worse because they contain slivers of fiberglass. The fiberglass cuts your lips and lungs, which allows more nicotine, tar, and whatever other chemicals into the bloodstream. The filters are probably what cause all the cancers anyway and not the tobacco.

Maybe I’m just trying to justify my like of cigars, but everyone here has been right I don’t have to stop in the middle of a movie to go out for a smoke. I don’t have to take a break every two hours for a cigar. I just smoke one whenever I’d like to smell the aroma. Also, that crap about cancer possibly taking root wherever the smoke touches in the mouth is ridiculous. That would mean that if you stand around smoke you could get eye cancer, skin cancer, or something else. This is a very strange article. brownpeter
Post 20

Cigar smoking is mostly viewed as classier than cigarette smoking. Cigarettes are very simple to smoke. The big difference is that while you are going to smoke a cigar, the smoke is not inhaled. anon334949
Post 18

Another very important difference between cigarettes and cigars is that cigarettes are smoked out of habit and for the nicotine dose. (Which in itself, in these quantities is not dangerous, rather a stimulant much like caffeine). Cigars, on the other hand, are made for the enjoyment of flavors, much like you’d enjoy a great wine, a good beer or a fantastic meal. Your lungs do not contain taste buds, so cigar smoke is not to be inhaled.

Not saying that cigar smoking is therefore safe to do. There is still the secondhand smoke you ‘breathe’ with chances of oral cancers. But a cigar, rather than the cigarette, screams for pleasure and relaxation. anon304390
Post 16

Who was it up there who included pot smoking as dangerous? What’s that all about? No one ever died from pot or LSD. It’s historical and medically proved. These two items have never killed anyone.

Now if someone is mixing in alcohol or other known killer drugs with them then sure those additional items can kill. But pot? even LSD (used by our military for over 15 years on our military as a possible truth serum until they settled on another chemical. Then they made LSD illegal! anon268692
Post 15

I actually ended up here by way of looking for more info on Djarum’s clove cigars, and the differences between them and the clove cigarettes they have replaced. And yes, the old 20 packs were cigarettes (I have old packaging around). I know that I don’t like the cigars as well, but I have yet to find much data.

As I recall, some law in the US banned most “flavored” cigarettes, and that’s when Djarum started producing the smaller packs of cigars. Of course, this has me wishing Sampoerna had done likewise with their Extras, but such is life. anon263485
Post 14

Why are cigars so much smoother than a single cigarette? anon253837
Post 13

I like anon’s explanation better. This article reads like an ad that could be from Altria on why cigarettes are better than cigars. Hey! I hear Coca Cola and Pepsi are fixing their cancer causing ingredients. I wonder if the cigarette companies will follow suit. anon175618
Post 12

I have been trying to research when clove cigars such as Djarum pack were decreased in size by eight, but the price did not change? I quit smoking them for awhile, I think in 2007 and when I started again, the packs were smaller but the price was the same. No warning or anything, and I can’t find any reason why. But recently, I discovered they are $2.00 cheaper in a cigar store than anywhere else. Can anyone direct me? I keep running into Malware and blocked site warnings (thanks to chrome) Thanks! anon149548
Post 11

I smoke three to eight cigars a month. A single cigar often contains more tobacco then one or even two entire packs of cigs. That means up to 40 times the nicotine in a single smoke. The question then arises If nicotine is so addictive, why is it that you don’t see many cigar smokers standing out in the rain with the cigarette smokers? The answers are straight ahead.

1. Cigarettes have additives that amplify the addictive quality of the cig by 10 to 100 times. Cigars have a little bit of vegetable gum or maybe oils (one dark maduro I smoke is misted with red wine to darken the leaf.) and that’s it.

2. Cigar tobacco plants are usually broadleaf or something similar, while cigarette tobacco is usually from the buckley family. Two completely different species, even as to percentages of proteins versus carbs, amount of cellulose, etc. (U of K ag research) There are 4.5 sub leased acres here on my horse farm for cigarette tobacco. I plant 600 or so plants of broadleaf cigar tobacco each year as a hobby. Believe me, there is no possible way to mistake one for the other.

It’s like comparing potatoes and yams. Both are in the same family, both grow as tubers, etc., but by lumping the two together because they are in the same family, we assume they are the same.

Therefore, we should, by simple proxy of logic, be required to put the same health warnings on tomatoes, which are barely removed from tobacco.

My doctor terms me to be a non smoker, so different are the cigars from cigarettes. She also referred me to an OSHA report that you gain far more of the harmful chemicals found in cigarettes by spending three to five minutes on a street corner next to rush hour traffic in any major metro area, especially with buses and trucks. I have no addiction. Do I get the high? You betcha? Do I have to smoke. Not at all.

Is it dangerous? Probably. But so is hard liquor. So is pot. But I’m an adult. And it’s my choice. view entire post anon137612
Post 10

how many mg of nicotine in a hand rolled cigarette compared to a cigarette? if there is any. why is it not stated on the outer package of the hand rolled cigarette? anon96450
Post 9

How about the fact that cigarettes are loaded with extra chemicals, additives, etc to keep them together. The only thing extra in a cigar is the vegetable glue that is used to secure the wrapper to the filler.

Cigarettes are more dangerous to one’s health not based on nicotine or tobacco, but due to all the extra crap they dump into cigarettes that they do not with cigars. anon83023
Post 8

so cigars are more habit forming? that’s weird. i just smoke them in celebration of accomplishments and cigs are a habit forming material that can become a lifestyle. God Bless everyone who reads this.

Post 7

i inhale when i smoke cigars so they’re less safe then a cigarette and anyway i use all forms of tobacco, so i smoke them just to get nicotine. anon34273
Post 4

Are you kidding me? Their is no way cigars are more healthier than cigs. Mainly because you do not inhale them. anon31865
Post 3

Cigars sound more dangerous than cigs. Funny, since very few people inhale cigars (since they are more potent puffing is sufficient, and it is too acrid for inhaling). Also, they are far less habit forming than cigs (because of cost, time involved, and the longer time to get an effect).