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Ruling 89-157

Tobacco Products Tax

It is the Department's position that all tobacco products specified in section 24 of Public Act 89-251 must be "prepared in such manner as to be suitable for chewing or smoking in a pipe or otherwise or for both chewing and smoking." The placement of a comma just before this excerpted phrase is an indication of legislative intent that the phrase modify not merely the word immediately preceding it, but all the specified types of tobacco products (including cigars) preceding it. "[A]n act should be read as punctuated unless there is some reason to do otherwise." Sutherland Stat. Const. § 47.15 (4th Ed.).

Consequently, the tobacco products tax is, in the Department's opinion, imposed on, inter alia, "cigars ... prepared in such manner as to be suitable for ... smoking"; and not on cigars not so prepared.

Whether cigars are so prepared is a question of fact. Data satisfactory to the Department will need to be submitted concerning the type of cigar that must be aged to be suitable for smoking. Furthermore, data regarding the period of time required to provide the aging necessary to make a cigar suitable for smoking must be submitted.


October 26, 1989