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Franchot Won't Enforce Online Sales Ban For Cigars

Marylanders can enjoy mail-order cigars on the golf course and the beach this summer after all.

In a highly unusual letter sent Monday to smokers and out-of-state cigarettes dealers, the office of Comptroller Peter Franchot said the department won't enforce a controversial 2010 ban on online sales and shipments of premium cigars.

Franchot made the decision after being besieged by cigar fans who learned of the law when it took effect May 1.

He had requested broad reforms in the rules governing wholesale distribution of cigars, pipe tobacco and other noncigarette tobacco. The changes, which prohibit sending those products directly to Maryland consumers, were intended to prevent large, bootleg orders from minors and tax evaders.

But Franchot said his office got more than 800 emails in protest from smokers of premium cigars (defined as costing more than $2) who said they ordered them online from specialty shops in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

"It's a very energetic group of taxpayers," Franchot said in an interview. "But I think the upshot is that nobody realized the ban was in the legislation and that it would apply to premium cigars. And when they brought it to our attention we recognized it as an unintended consequence."

Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler ruled that the comptroller has the authority to suspend enforcement, said Franchot, who plans to refrain from busting online cigar buyers until the General Assembly has a chance to reconsider the law. Legislative leaders have said they're sympathetic to creating a loophole for high-end cigars.

But no matter what remedy they choose, Franchot said, it's important for Maryland to collect the taxes due on the cigars.

The term cigarettes, as normally employed, refers to a tobacco cigarette, but can be utilized like devices holding in other herbaceous plants, such as eugenia caryophyllatums. A cigarette is differentiated from a cigar by its modest sizing, utilization of treated leafage, and paper wrap, which is usually white hot, though other coloring materials are sometimes usable. Cigars are mostly compiled totally of whole-leaf tobacco plant.

Rates of cheap smokes changes widely, and have altered substantially over the course of human history since cigarettes were 1st wide used in the mid-19th century. While rates of smoke have over time leveled off or turned down in the highly developed world, they continue to up-rise in evolving states. Nicotine, the main psychotropic chemical substance in baccy and therefore cigarettes, has been shown to be psychologically habit forming, although it does not generate a physiologic addiction.

Cheap cigarettes usage by pregnant women has also been shown to stimulate birth defects, including mental and physical disabilities.