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:


Colorado: Senate Bill 126, which modifies the definitions for “traditional large and premium cigars” to ensure that all traditional large and premium cigars are subject to the tobacco products excise tax of 40% of the manufacturer’s list price, was referred to the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee on February 14, 2018.


Florida: House Bill 1029/Senate Bill 1288 raises the legal purchase age for tobacco and vapor products to 21, on Senate Rules Committee agenda for February 14, 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, was amended on February 13, 2018 to have an effective date of July 1, 3000

  2. House Bill 1907, which prohibits sales of tobacco products by the Internet or mail order, passed House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce on February 7, 2018 with an amendment which makes it effective July 1, 2050

  3. Senate Bill 2304, which, as amended, prohibits the sale of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, within 500 feet of public or private schools, public parks and playgrounds, grandfathering in licensees until December 1, 2019, passed Senate Committee on Judiciary on February 7, 2018

  4. Senate Bill 2654, which prohibits shipments of tobacco products to anyone other than a licensee and applies the tobacco products tax to e-liquids, passed Senate Committee on Commerce, Consumer Protection and Health on February 8, 2018

  5. Senate Bill 2843, which increases the tax on large cigars from $0.50 to the lesser of $1.00 each or 50% of the wholesale price plus $0.50 each, passed Senate Committee on Ways and Means on February 13, 2018 with an amendment (not yet available)


Idaho: Senate Bill 1255, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, and also prohibits the possession and use of tobacco and vapor products by anyone under 21 years of age, was defeated in the Senate State Affairs Committee on February 14, 2018.


Nebraska: The following bills were being considered by the Revenue Committee in a hearing on February 15, 2018:


  1. Legislative Bill 1117 increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, increases the tax on OTP from 20% to 45% of the purchase price

  2. Legislative Bill 1087 modifies the tax on cigars, stogies, and cheroots to place a maximum tax of 50 cents per cigar, stogie, or cheroots


New Hampshire: Senate Bill 545, which raises the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21, was tabled and is effectively dead for this year.


South Dakota: House Bill 1250, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, failed to pass the House on February 14, 2018.


Washington: House Bill 1054, which increases the legal age to purchase tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was was placed on second reading by to the House Rules Committee on February 8, 2018.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Iowa: House Bill 2339 increases the taxes on cigarettes from $1.36 to $2.86 per pack and on other tobacco products from 50% of the wholesale price to 67% of the wholesale price, imposes the latter tax on vaping products, and removes the $0.50 cap on taxes on cigars.


West Virginia: House Bill 4537 raises the tax on cigarettes by $.35 per pack and increases the tax on other tobacco products by 3.5%.


Wyoming: House Bill 0043, which increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.00 per pack, increases the tax on OTP from 20% to 53.3% of the wholesale price, and increases the tax on moist snuff by $1.00 per ounce, died to the failure to meet an action deadline.



*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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