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Update on Recent Legislation Affecting Premium Cigars


Interesting legislative news posted on February 4th from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets, Inc. (NATO)* and the International Premium Cigar and Pipe retailers Association (IPCPR)†. 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:

Arizona: House Bill 2335, which increases the age for purchase, use and possession of tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21 and extends the smoking ban to include e-cigarettes, was scheduled to be heard in House Health Committee on February 2, 2017.

Connecticut: House Bill 5384, which raises the legal age for the purchase and use of tobacco products to 21, passed a voice vote on January 25, 2017, to reserve a public hearing by the Public Health Committee.

Indiana: House Bill 1578, which increases the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack and raises the minimum age to 21 for the purchase and possession of tobacco products, passed unanimously from the House Public Health Committee on February 1, 2017.

New Hampshire:

  1. House Bill 318, which taxes premium cigars at 15% of the wholesale sales price, reported as “ought not to pass” in the House Ways & Means Committee on February 1, 2017.

  2. House Bill 333, which removes the current exemption for premium cigars from the OTP tax rate of 65.03% of wholesale, reported by the majority as “ought not to pass” in the House Ways & Means Committee on February 1, 2017.

New York: Assembly Bill 1117 requires companies selling tobacco products over the internet to send a form to individuals to sign stating that such individual is 18 years of age or older, reported from the Assembly Health Committee on January 24, 2017.

North Dakota: House Bill 1312, which increases the purchase age for tobacco products and vapor products from 18 years of age to 19 years of age, received a “Do Not Pass” recommendation from the House Human Services Committee on January 31, 2017.

Texas: Senate Bill 228, which grants municipalities the authority to raise the purchase age for tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, was referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on January 30th.

Washington: House Bill 1054, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 years of age to 21 years of age, was considered in a public hearing in the House Health and Wellness Committee, on January 24, 2017. Senate Bill 5025, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 years of age to 21 years of age, was referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, on January 23, 2017.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Arizona: House Bill 2335 increases the age for purchase, use and possession of tobacco products (including e-cigarettes) to 21 and extends the smoking ban to include e-cigarettes.

Hawaii: Two sets of bills proposing two different changes to the current excise tax on large cigars:

  1. House Bills 247 and Senate Bill 291 increase the excise tax on large cigars from 50% to 70% of the wholesale price.

  2. House Bills 769 and 1332 and Senate Bill 871 change the excise tax on large cigars (currently 50% of the wholesale price) to the lesser of 50% of the wholesale price or 50 cents.

Indiana: House Bill 1634 raises the penalty from a Class C (up to a $500 fine) to a Class B infraction (up to a $1,000 fine) for selling tobacco or an electronic cigarette to persons under age 18.

*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.

IPCPR is a non-profit trade association representing and assisting premium retail tobacconists and their suppliers.

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