The Kitty Litter in Your Cigarette Allows Tobacco Companies to Avoid $1.1 Billion in TaxesS

WHAT NOW? Apparently there is cat litter in cigarettes—or rather the clay found in cat litter is used in cigarettes as filler. This allows tobacco companies to "weigh down" their cigarettes so that they will fall into the "large cigar" category-helping the companies avoid a federal excise tax increase of 2,653%. The rule goes as follows:

It requires "a rolled tobacco product to weigh at least 3 pounds per 1,000 to be labeled as a 'large' or 'premium' cigar where taxes increased just 155 percent."

This filler is legal; though the rule states that weight must be achieved to qualify as a large cigar, there is no stipulation about how this weight is achieved.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say this tax disparity has been the cause of an increase in large cigar smoking. Smoking of large cigars has tripled in the past decade, while cigarette smoking has declined.

Remember that whole thing about how your cat's litter box was maybe making you crazy? This is worse.

[Bloomberg, image via Getty]