HONOLULU (AP) — A loophole in Hawaii's tobacco tax law makes smokeless tobacco products and "little cigars" cost-friendlier alternatives to cigarettes.

As a result, increased tobacco taxes only impact smoking rates, but have not led to any significant decreases in the use of chewing tobacco, snuff and tobacco sticks and pellets.

A bill headed to the Senate floor could change that.

State Sen. David Ige, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said on Friday that a proposal to raise the excise tax on all tobacco products to 70 percent or $3.20 each, would close the loophole.

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