Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Business
Pursuits

Tobacco Firms Save $1 Billion With Kitty Litter in Cigars

A dozen tobacco companies have gained from a legal loophole that helped them avoid as much as $1.1 billion in U.S. taxes.

Their secret: Using fillers such as the clay found in cat litter or stuffing the products with more tobacco to tip the scales in their favor. The heavier weight let the companies sidestep a 2,653 percent increase in a federal excise tax, taking advantage of a 2009 law that spared so-called big cigars.