Update on Recent Legislation Affecting Premium Cigars

Interesting legislative news posted today from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc. (NATO)*. Below are some highlights of activity on state tobacco bills that pertain to the brothers & sisters of the leaf.

Legislative Action on State Tobacco Bills

Recent action that has taken place on tobacco-related bills pending in state legislatures:


Maryland: House Bill 139, which changes the tax on premium cigars from 15% to 7.5% of the wholesale price, is scheduled for a hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee on February 10, 2016.


New Jersey: Senate Bill 359, which raises the minimum age for the purchase and sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21, was on the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee agenda for February 4, 2016.


New Mexico: Senate Bill 178, which defines “fine cigar” as “a roll of tobacco that is wrapped in 100% natural leaf tobacco” and changes the excise tax for fine cigars from 25% of the product value to: 1) $0.05 per cigar in a package that contains one unit, and 2) $0.03 per cigar for a package containing multiple units. This bill passed the Senate Committee on Committees on January 26th and remains in the Senate Finance Committee as well as the Senate Corporations and Transportation Committee.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

The following bills were recently introduced in state legislatures:


Colorado: House Bill 1150 permits a county to prohibit the possession of cigarettes, other tobacco products or nicotine products by persons under 18 years of age. Current law permits municipalities, but not counties, to implement such a ban.


Hawaii: The following bills were introduced in the Hawaii House and Senate this past week-

  1. House Bill 1793 and Senate Bill 2226 prohibit smoking in vehicles with minors present,

  2. House Bill 2624 and Senate Bill 2689 increase tobacco retailer licenses from $20 to $50 annually and would require e-cigarette and related products dealers to have a tobacco retailer license

  3. Senate Bill 2408 exempts “premium cigars” from the self-service display ban

  4. Senate Bill 2692 increases the excise tax on other tobacco products from 70% to 80% of the wholesale price.


Kentucky: House Bill 299 raises to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products.


Mississippi: Senate Bill 2054 clarifies the definition of “manufacturer’s list price” to include sales by any dealer or person engaged in selling tobacco products directly.


Oklahoma: House Bill 3147 increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age.


Oregon: House Bill 4103 establishes a fee of $1,000 for smoke shop certification and requires a renewal of the certification every five years. Senate Bill requires, on and after January 1, 2017, persons selling tobacco products in this state to be licensed by Department of Revenue.



*NATO is a national trade association organized to enhance the common business interests of all tobacco retailers and to monitor and assist members in responding to tobacco-related legislation on the local, state and federal levels.

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