For many years, the Wisconsin Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Prevention Network (WHTPN) has been working hard to reduce smoking rates in the Milwaukee area and across the state.
On Feb. 24 we took a step in the wrong direction when a Madison judge ruled that roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette stores can continue to dodge the state’s cigarette tax. As a network of Hispanics, we think this injunction blocking the crackdown on RYO machines is unfair to our community.
Cigarettes made in a RYO store are no different from those made in a factory and should be taxed the same. Untaxed RYO cigarettes are harming our communities since cheaper cigarettes encourage our kids to start smoking and make it harder for adults to quit.
In Wisconsin, tobacco already costs each household an average of nearly $2,000 a year in health care costs and lost productivity. WHTPN has worked hard to lower these costs by helping adults quit smoking and preventing tens of thousands of kids from picking up this dangerous lifelong habit.
Taxing RYO cigarettes isn’t just a matter of fairness – more importantly, it’s a matter of keeping our kids and communities healthy and strong.