Owners of several tobacco shops that charged customers to use $35,000 cigarette-making machines until changes in US federal law made the practice illegal are looking to establish private smoking clubs, according to a story by Tom Fontaine for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Like other fraternal organizations, the non-profit smoking clubs would require members to pay dues, elect officers and meet monthly. Each would have a social calendar.
A possible perk of membership would be the use of a refrigerator-sized making machine that can produce the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes in about 10 minutes.
“We all tended to agree that there‘s a need for this now,” said Albert A. Torrence, an attorney who filed notices of incorporation with the Department of State on behalf of three tobacco shop owners who want to form clubs that would be separate from their business.
Torrence said the clubs would seek permission from the state and federal governments to use the making machines. He said he did not think their use would violate the law because they would not be used to turn a profit.
Congress in June passed a law that placed tobacco shop owners with making machines in the same class as cigarette manufacturers, such as Phillip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. The law requires the small shops to get manufacturing permits and imposes excise taxes on cigarettes made and sold, erasing any competitive advantage over traditional sellers of name-brand smokes.
Several of Western Pennsylvania‘s dozens of roll-your-own shops closed. Others hung on, selling loose tobacco and cigarette tubes.
Category: Breaking News