Flavored cigarette-paper ban awaits Quinn's decision

Jun 11, 2012

Most lawmakers believe that tobacco companies with sugary flavors added to their products should have to quit selling them in the state.

But a recent proposal would target only flavored cigarette wrappers, not flavored cigars.

Various legislators argue the fruity flavors and bright packaging of cigar wrappers appeal to children. It's also considered common knowledge that the papers are used for illicit drugs, such as marijuana.

Ron Tully, with Kentucky-based National Tobacco Company, says Illinois is not the only state to target his company. He thinks the measure was inspired by other tobacco firms who want to snuff out the competition:

"We have flavors like melon and strawberry,” Tully said, “and of course I guess they sound kind of attractive to kids, but they wouldn't be any more attractive than a flavored cigar, so what's the difference?"

Selling the wrappers would be punishable by up to a $1,000 fine.

"It's very unfortunate that Illinois is prepared to pick winners and losers in the tobacco industry,” Tully said. “I know no one likes tobacco, but it's somewhat unfair that because we're an out-of-state company our product is being targeted."

The bill is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn’s signature.