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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:


  • Senate Bill 451, which establishes a civil penalty of $1,000 per day for any distributor or importer that fails to immediately produce tobacco products tax records upon request, passed the Joint Committee on Finance, Revenue and Bonding on March 31, 2016.

  • Senate Bill 290, which increases the minimum purchase age to 21 for tobacco products, nicotine delivery systems and vapor products, failed to make the Joint Favorable deadline on March 23, 2016.

Minnesota: Senate Bill 3255 and House Bill 3463-

  1. Increases the cigarette wholesale license fee from $300 to $500 annually and the tobacco product wholesale license fee from $75 to $500 annually;

  2. Prohibits a local retail licensing authority (city, town or county) from renewing a retailer’s cigarette and tobacco licenses if retailer has been found in possession of contraband cigarettes or contraband tobacco products;

  3. Requires a retailer to produce an invoices for cigarettes and/or tobacco products in stock within one hour after being requested to do so by a Minnesota Department of Revenue agent or inspector;

  4. Authorizes the Minnesota Department of Revenue to publish a list of those retailers who have had their cigarette/tobacco licenses revoked for possession of contraband products;and

  5. Appropriates $1,036,000 each year in 2017, 2018 and 2019 to cover the cost of additional inspectors/agents to enforce contraband cigarette/tobacco laws.

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 and received a pass recommendation from the Senate Ways & Means Committee on March 29, 2016..


Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills No new bills of interest were introduced in state legislatures since the last report March 25.

*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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