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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:

California: The following bills have passed the California legislature and have been sent to Governor Jerry Brown for this consideration:

  1. Assembly Bill 10b, which authorizes counties and cities to impose a tax on distributing cigarettes and tobacco products

  2. Assembly Bill 11b, which requires a $265 annual fee for retailers of cigarettes and tobacco products

  3. Senate Bill 7b, which increases the age to purchase, use and possess tobacco products to 21

Hawaii: The following bills have died due to missing a procedural deadline:

  1. House Bills 143 and 144, which apply a 50 cent tax on premium cigars and exempts these cigars from the self-service display ban;

  2. House Bill 1634, which changes the excise tax on large cigars from 70% of wholesale to the lesser of 50 cents or 50% of the wholesale price;

  3. House Bill 2624, which increases tobacco retailer licenses from $20 to $50 annually and would require e-cigarette and related products dealers to have a tobacco retailer license

Maryland: House Bill 775, which increases the purchase age to 21 for tobacco products, was reported unfavorably from the House Judiciary Committee on March 17, 2016.

Massachusetts: Senate Bill 747, which increases the tobacco purchase age to 21, was discharged from the Joint Public Health Committee and referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 14, 2016.

New Hampshire: House Bill 1208, which changes several definitions to the tobacco tax laws, including the definition of a premium cigar by removing the criteria that cigars wholesale for $2.00 or more, passed the House on March 9, 2016.

Tennessee: Senate Bill 1973 and House Bill 1978, which raises the legal smoking limit from 18 to 21 years of age, both died in committee.


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

Colorado: House Bill 1370 requires that beginning January 1, 2017 all retailers who sell cigarettes, tobacco products, or nicotine products be registered with the state liquor enforcement division.

*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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