Calls new cigarette definition “unconstitutionally vague”
SKOKIE, Ill. — The National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO), Minneapolis, the Cigar Association of America, Washington, D.C., and Arango Cigar Co., Northbrook Ill., filed suit on Monday to block recent changes to Illinois’ cigarette tax, signed into law in June as part of an effort to overcome a $2.7 billion deficit in state’s Medicaid program, according to the Sun-Times.
The legislation includes a $1-per-pack cigarette tax increase and raised the tax on roll your own (RYO), little cigars and moist snuff from 18% to 36% of the product’s price.
It is the new language used to define cigarettes that NATO and its fellow filers object to, describing the wording as “unconstitutionally vague.” They believe such a vague definition puts tobacco retailers at risk of having their products seized should they incorrectly guess whether certain products like little cigars fall under the new taxes.
Additionally, the suit argues such confusion could lead to retailers overpaying by affixing a pack containing as few as two little cigars with 20 cigarette tax stamps.
NATO filed the suit in Cook County Circuit Court in Skokie, Ill., on behalf of its members in Illinois, who will have until August 1 to comply with the new legislation. The five-count suit calls for an injunction to roll back the changes to Illinois’ cigarette tax laws and additionally prohibit the state from enforcing the tax laws on tobacco retailers