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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:

Colorado: House Bill 1150, which permits a county to prohibit the possession of cigarettes, other tobacco products or nicotine products by persons under 18 years of age, was reported “favorably with amendment” by the House Local Government Committee on February 17, 2016. Current law permits municipalities, but not counties, to implement such a ban.

Hawaii: Senate Bill 2408, which exempts “premium cigars” from the self-service display ban, passed the Senate Committee on Judiciary and Labor.


  1. Senate Bill 1119, which increases the purchase age to 21 for tobacco products, was released from the Joint Public Health Committee.

  2. Senate Bill 747, which increases the purchase age to 21 for tobacco products, was released from the Joint Judiciary Committee on February 25, 2016.


  1. House Bills 1373 and 1374, which raise the legal age for smoking from 18 to 21 years of age, died in committee.

  2. House Bill 151 and Senate Bill 2227, creating a statewide comprehensive smoking ban on all indoor workplaces, both died in committee.

New Jersey:

  1. Assembly Bill 2320, which raises the minimum age for the purchase and sale of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21, was reported favorably from the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee on February 22, 2016.

  2. Assembly Bill 1815 was amended by the Health and Senior Services Committee in March 7, 2016 to assess the following tax rates:

  • Cigar tax rate of $2.70 per cigar

  • Cigarillo tax rate at $.54 per cigarillo

  • Little cigar tax rate of $.135 each


Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills The following bills were recently introduced in state legislatures:

Alaska: House Bill 328 prohibits smoking in an enclosed area of a public space and contains an exemption from the smoking ban for e-cigarette shops as well as retail tobacco stores.

California: Senate Bill 1400 excludes from the requirement to obtain a retail tobacco license those locations that do not obtain more than 60% of its revenue from the sale of tobacco products and paraphernalia.

Rhode Island: House Bill 7737 increases the tobacco purchase age to 21 (includes nicotine-delivery systems).

*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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