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Update on Recent Legislation Affecting Premium Cigars

Interesting legislative news posted on over the past few days 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:

Alaska: Senate Bill 63, which prohibits smoking and electronic cigarette use in enclosed areas of public places, passed the House Judiciary Committee on January 26, 2018.

Hawaii: The following bills were passed in January:

  1. House Bill 1636, which increases the annual license fee for tobacco retailers from $2.50 to $500.00, the tobacco tax on cigarettes and little cigars from $3.20 per pack to $4.50 per pack and the tax on other tobacco products (not including large cigars) from 70% to 80% of the wholesale price, passed the Health and Human Services Committee on January 24, 2018.

  2. House Bill 1907, which prohibits sales of tobacco products by the Internet or mail order, passed the House Committee on Health and Human Services with an amendment on January 30, 2018.

Mississippi: The following bills died in Committee on January 30, 2018:

  1. House Bill 140 and House Bill 835, which raise the minimum legal sales age and the minimum legal purchase age for tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21.

  2. House Bill 142, which prohibits smoking in public places.

  3. House Bill 1157, which would effectively require tobacco retailers to pay C.O.D. for shipments from all manufacturers or wholesalers if the retailer failed to pay when due for any shipment from any manufacturer or wholesaler and subjects the retailer to revocation of their retail permit.

South Dakota: Senate Bill 152, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was withdrawn from further consideration in the Senate Commerce and Energy Committee on January 30, 2018.

Washington: Senate Bill 5025, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was considered in a public hearing in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on February 1, 2018. House Bill 1054, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was recommitted to the House Rules Committee on January 26, 2018.


Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Colorado: Two bills introduced:

  1. Senate Bill 126 defines “traditional large and premium cigars” to mean the following: any roll of tobacco that is (a) wrapped in 100% leaf tobacco; (b) is bunched with 100% tobacco filler; (c) does not contain a filter, tip, or nontobacco mouthpiece; (d) weighs at least six pounds per thousand; and (e) has 100% leaf tobacco binder and is hand rolled. Currently cigars are taxed under the tobacco products excise tax. This bill would ensure that all traditional large and premium cigars are subject to the tobacco products excise tax of 40% of the manufacturer’s list price.

  2. Senate Bill 139 requires any retailer who sells cigarettes, tobacco products or vapor products to obtain a license and a retailer with more than one location would need to obtain a license for each location.

Hawaii: House Bill 2737 prohibits shipments of tobacco products to anyone other than a licensee and increases the annual tobacco retail permit fee from $20 to $50.

Idaho: Senate Bill 1255 increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age. SB1255 also prohibits the possession and use of tobacco and vapor products by anyone under 21 years of age.

Maryland: Senate Bill 456 prohibits the distribution of tobacco products to an individual under the age of 21 years.

New Mexico: House Bill 232 increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, increases the tax on OTP by 51% of the product value, and imposes a tax on vapor products at the rate of 76% of the product value.

South Dakota: Two bills introduced:

  1. House Bill 1250 increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age.

  2. House Bill 1274 increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.00 per pack and also increases the tax on OTP from 35% to 55% of the wholesale price.

Utah: House Bill 296 increases the age for sale, purchase, use and possession of tobacco products from 19 to 20 years of age effective July 1, 2019 and from 20 to 21 years of age effective January 1, 2020.

*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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