Update on Recent Legislation Affecting Premium Cigars


Interesting legislative news posted on June 5th 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:

Arkansas: House Bill 1711, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21, died in the Arkansas House.

California:

  1. Assembly Bill 62, which prohibits smoking of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, in most public housing projects, passed the Assembly on May 30, 2017.

  2. Assembly Bill 725, which prohibits smoking, including e-cigarette use, on state coastal beaches, passed the Assembly on May 31, 2017.

  3. Senate Bill 386, which prohibits smoking, including e-cigarette use, on state coastal beaches, passed Senate on May 30, 2017.

Illinois: The following bills died on adjournment of the spring session on May 31, 2017:

  1. Senate Bill 1221, which prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle where a minor is present

  2. House Bill 3208, which increases the minimum legal sales and possession age to 21.​

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which increase the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21, were postponed indefinitely and withdrawn from consideration.

Maine: House Bill 1066 (LD1548), which increase the tax on cigars, pipe tobacco and other smoking tobacco from 20% to 47% of the wholesale price and ties future tax increases for smoking tobacco and smokeless tobacco to future tax increases on cigarettes, was considered in a work session of the Joint Committee on Taxation on May 18, 2017.

Massachusetts: The following bills were heard 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 a 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.

  4. House Bill 2864 raises the minimum sales age for tobacco products from 18 to 21; prohibits the use of vending machines for the sale of tobacco products; requires child-resistant packaging for e-liquid containers; and prohibits the sale of tobacco products at health-care institutions, including retail establishments that provide optician or pharmaceutical services on their premises.

The following Massachusetts bills are scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Committee on Revenue for June 20, 2017:

  1. Senate Bill 1576 which taxes “electronic smoking liquid” at 40% of wholesale and caps the tax on cigars at $.50 per cigar;

  2. Senate Bill 1497 which increases the tax on cigars by an additional 80% of wholesale, the tax on smoking tobacco by an additional 90% of wholesale, and the tax on smokeless by an additional 20%.

The following Massachusetts bills are scheduled for a hearing in the Joint Committee on Revenue on July 18, 2017:

  1. House Bill 3314 which increases the cigarette tax by $1.00 per pack, the smokeless tax to 264% and the tax on cigars and smoking tobacco to 80% (includes a floor tax on cigarettes)

  2. House Bill 3524, which requires cigar retailers to obtain a "retail tobacconist" license; requires retail tobacconist shops to have at least 80% of the total combined quarterly revenue be generated by the sale of tobacco and tobacco related products; requires retail tobacconists to operate an on-site humidor and not permit persons under the age of 21 inside the premises; redefines "retail tobacco store”.

Missouri:

  1. House Bill 533, which doubles the penalty on littering with cigarettes and cigars, died on adjournment on May 12, 2017.

  2. House Bill 286, which creates a child protection registry that would prohibit advertising of certain products including tobacco and vapor products, through electronic messaging (text, etc.) to registered underage persons, died by missing a procedural deadline on May 12, 2017.

Nevada: Assembly Bill 415 and Senate Bill 399, both of which require a retailer to accept a tribal identification card as proof of age for sales of tobacco products, passed both houses of the legislature on May 29th and May 30th respectively and are ready for the Governor’s action.

New Jersey:

  1. Assembly Bill 2320 and Senate Bill 359, both of which increase the legal age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking devices from 19 to 21 years of age, were reported out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on June 1, 2017.

  2. Assembly Bill 4874, which requires licensure for manufacturers, distributors, wholesale dealers, and retail dealers of electronic smoking devices and related products, reported favorably from the Health & Senior Services Committee on June 1, 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 referred to the House Rules Committee on May 24, 2017 after a third reading in the House.

  2. Senate Bill 235, which deals with smoking prohibitions, passed the House Health Care Committee on May 30, 2017. 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.

Pennsylvania: House Bill 1309 removes several existing exceptions to the Clean Indoor Air Act, including exceptions for cigar shops, cigar bars, cigar lounges, and private clubs. The proposed smoking ban legislation would jeopardize over 200 "mom and pop" tobacco shops and the entire premium cigar industry in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. HB 1309 is expected to receive a hearing in the House Health Committee as early as next week. Click here to send an email to your state Senator and Representative requesting their opposition to HB 1309.

Washington: The following bills were reintroduced and retained in their present status on May 23, 2017 at the beginning of the 2017 2nd Special Session:

  1. House Bill 1919, which establishes special license endorsements for cigar shops and retail shops, remains in the House Health and Wellness Committee.

  2. House Bill 1946, which exempts pipe tobacco from the prohibition on shipping tobacco products ordered by mail or internet, remains in the House Commerce and Gaming Committee.

  3. House Bill 1261, which exempts tobacco products from the prohibition on self-service displays, remains in the House Commerce and Gaming Committee.

  4. Senate Bill 5025, which increases legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, remains in the Senate Commerce, Labor, and Sports Committee.

  5. House Bill 1054, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, remains in the House Rules Committee.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Alaska: House Bill 252 allows municipalities to adopt and enforce smoking prohibitions and restrictions in or near workplaces or buildings that are open to the public, provided said restriction is more strict than current state regulations. HB252 also allows for local option elections by an established village for smoking prohibitions in public places.

New Jersey: Senate Bill 3246 (same as A4620) prohibits the use of coupons, price rebates and price reduction promotions in sales of tobacco products and vapor products.

*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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