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What is a class A cigarette?


On cigarette packs there's a tax stamp that says something like "20 class A cigarettes." What is a class A cigarette? Are clove cigarettes class B? Are there other classes of cigarettes?

1527 day(s) ago

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Mr. Boxy
There are Class A and B cigarettes, but this has nothing to do with the contents of the cigarette. Legally a cigar is a smokable tobacco product with an outer wrapping of tobacco leaves, while a cigarette is a tobacco product with any other kind of wrapper, typically paper. Both cigarettes and cigars are split into two tax groups according to size.

Cigarettes are taxed by the thousand, with the classes being set by weight: If 1,000 cigarettes weigh less than three pounds they're Class A, and if 1,000 cigarettes weigh more then three pounds they're class B. Cigars are "large" and "small" instead of Class A or B, but they too are taxed depending on whether they weigh more or less than three pounds per thousand.

The federal tax on Class A cigarettes and small cigars is $50.33 per thousand while Class B cigarettes are taxed $105.69 per thousand. Large cigars are charged $402.60 per thousand, so the cheapest cigars are almost universally small to avoid the high tax rate.

For an average diameter cigarette to weigh enough to be considered class B it would have to be at least six inches long. The only Class B cigarette to be put into production are Nat Sherman Cigarettelos.

So, why do we have such an odd size classification for cigarettes when almost no one makes Class B's?

Originally cigarettes were taxed by the pack regardless of size. Head Play cigarettes got around this by creating long unfiltered cigarettes that could be broken into four smaller cigarettes. They came in a special perforated box that could also be split in fours. Technically a single box, all four packs were charged just once under the tax.

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