Update on Recent Legislation Affecting Premium Cigars

Interesting legislative news posted on May 15th 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:


Alaska: Senate Bill 63, which prohibits smoking and e-cigarette use in enclosed areas in public places, including sports arenas, public transportation vehicles, retail shopping stores, hotels, motels, government buildings, restaurants, bars, educational facilities, health care facilities, and places of employments, received a “Pass Recommendation” from the House Community and Regional Affairs Committee on April 28, 2017.


Colorado: Senate Bill 139, which permanently extends the ability for distributors to claim a credit for taxes paid on tobacco products that are shipped or transported by the distributor to a consumer outside the state, was vetoed by the Governor on April 28, 2017.


Connecticut:

  1. House Bill 5384, which was substituted to raise the legal age for the purchase and use of tobacco products to 21, except for any person who is (1) eighteen years of age or older prior to October 1, 2017, or (2) a member of the armed forces, as defined in section 27-103, may purchase and possess tobacco products in any form, was reported as “substitute ought to pass” on May 9, 2017.

  2. House Bill 6368, which establishes a uniform method of taxation for all tobacco products, failed the Joint Favorable deadline on April 28, 2017.


Florida: House Bill 1093/Senate Bill 1138, which increase the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21, were postponed indefinitely and withdrawn from consideration.


Massachusetts: The following bills are scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Committee on Public Health on May 16, 2017-

  1. House Bill 2455, Senate Bill 1188 and Senate Bill 1189 prohibit the sale of tobacco products at certain health care institutions.

  2. Senate Bill 1178 prohibits the sale of a tobacco product to a person under the age of 21 or, not being his parent or guardian, give a tobacco product to a person under the age of 21.

  3. House Bill 1217 and Senate Bill 1218 prohibit the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 21 (except persons who attained age 18 before January 1, 2017) and bans the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies.


Nevada:

  1. Assembly Bill 162, which allows a retailer to accept a permanent resident card as proof of age for sales of tobacco products, was signed by the Governor on May 9, 2017.

  2. Assembly Bill 415, which allows a retailer to accept a tribal identification card as proof of age for sales of tobacco products, passed the Assembly on April 25, 2017.

  3. Senate Bill 399, which allows a retailer to accept a tribal identification card as proof of age for sales of tobacco products, passed Senate on April 20, 2017.

  4. Senate Bill 399, which allows a retailer to accept a tribal identification card as proof of age for sales of tobacco products, passed Senate on April 20, 2017.


Oregon:

  1. Senate Bill 754, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was considered in a work session in the House Health Care Committee on May 10, 2017.

  2. House Bill 2056 increases the tax on cigarettes by $.50 per pack, increases the tax on tobacco products from 65% to 90% of the wholesale price, and imposes a tax on vapor products at the rate of $.05 per milligram per milliliter of nicotine, was considered in a public hearing in the House Revenue Committee on May 11, 2017.

  3. Senate Bill 235, which deals with smoking prohibitions, passed the Senate and moved to the House on May 1, 2017. It is important to note that the provisions in SB235 relating to the licensing of vapor products retailers were removed in the April 26, 2017 “engrossed-A” version of the bill.


Rhode Island: Senate Bill 593, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products to individuals under 21 years of age and requires proof of legal age for individuals appearing to be under 30 years of age, was recommended to be held for further study by the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 27, 2017.


Texas:

  1. Senate Bill 1505, which redefines “cigarette” to include little cigars, thus increasing the tax on little cigars to $1.41 per pack, was considered in a public hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on May 1, 2017.

  2. House Bill 1908, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was placed on the General State Calendar on May 9, 2017

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

New York: Assembly Bill 7529 raises the minimum sales age for tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 19, unless an individual is 18 years of age and serving in the United States military.


Pennsylvania: House Bill 1309 expands the state smoking ban by eliminating most exemptions, including the exemption for tobacco shops.



*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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