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:


Hawaii: Senate Bill 2408, which exempts “premium cigars” from the current self-service display ban, passed the Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health on February 1, 2016.


Maryland:

  1. House Bill 139, which alters 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.

  2. Senate Bill 320, which alters the tax on premium cigars from 15% to 7.5% of the wholesale price, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on February 17, 2016.

  3. Senate Bill 114, which prohibits the distribution of a tobacco product, electronic smoking device, cigarette papers or tobacco coupons to a minor, was reported unfavorably from the Finance Committee and withdrawn from consideration on February 4, 2016.


*| ACTION NEEDED |*

Maryland’s current tax burden is higher than all neighboring states; therefore, it is critical that this legislation passes to make small business retail tobacconists in Maryland competitive.

Click HERE to contact the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Committee on Budget and Taxation TODAY to express your your support for H.B. 139 and S.B. 320.


Nebraska: Legislative Bill 727, which imposes a tax of 1% on all tobacco sales by someone who holds a cigar license, was postponed indefinitely on February 1st in the Revenue Committee.


Washington: House Bill 2313, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21, received a “Pass Recommendation” from the House Health Care and Wellness Committee on January 29th and was referred to the House Appropriations Committee on February 2nd.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

The following bills were recently introduced in state legislatures:


Kentucky: House Bill 322 prohibits the self-service display of tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, and vapor products in retail stores.


Oklahoma:

  1. House Bill 2317 increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age.

  2. House Bill 3147 increases the minimum sales age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 over the course of the next three years.


*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.

†Updated legislative activity since last post dated February 5 - click HERE for details.

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