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:


Florida: Senate Bill 810, which increases the purchase age for tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age, was referred to Senate Committee on Rules.


Kentucky: Senate Bill 56, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products and vapor products to persons under the age of 21, reported favorably from the Senate Health and Welfare Committee on January 15, 2020.


New Jersey: The following bills passed the Assembly and the Senate on January 13, 2020: Assembly Bill 5922—5923 (combined) passed, which revises the requirements for the sale of tobacco and vapor products—increases penalties for violations; increases license fees; prohibits the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies; bans the sale of electronic smoking devices designed to mimic another object (e.g. flash drive); prohibits the sale of vaping liquids with a nicotine concentration greater than two percent [Note: Assembly Bill 5922-5923 was vetoed by the New Jersey Governor].


New York: The following bills were heard in and reported from the Senate Health Committee on January 14, 2020:

  • Senate Bill 1148, which prohibits the use of coupons or use of a price reduction instrument to lower the price of certain tobacco products

  • Senate Bill 4249, which limits the number of retail electronic cigarette stores in cities and towns based on proximity to schools, places of worship and other retail electronic cigarette stores----prohibits new locations of retail electronic cigarette stores and tobacco businesses on the same street within 200 feet of buildings exclusively used for schools and places of worship, in a city within 500 feet of three or more existing stores and within a town or village within a two square mile area of three or more existing stores


Virginia: House Bill 1120, which increases the tax on cigarettes to $1.50 per pack and increases tax on OTP by 29%, and creates a vapor tax of 39%, was referred to House Committee on Finance. House Bill 1283, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products through self-service vending machines and prohibits tobacco sales within 1000 feet of a youth-oriented facility, and prohibits online sales of tobacco and vapor products, was referred to House Committee on Courts of Justice.

Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Florida: Senate Bill 694 prohibits the sale of flavored e-liquid, prohibits self-service sales of tobacco products, prohibits the sale of tobacco or vapor products unless in a direct, face-to-face exchange with the retailer.


Georgia: Senate Bill 298 increases the purchase age for tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age. House Bill 731 increases the tax on cigarettes by $1.50 per pack, the tax on cigars by 19%, and the tax on loose tobacco by 32%.

Hawaii: House Bill 1666 extends the radius from 1000 feet to 1500 feet of any school where it is prohibited to distribute sample tobacco products, promotional materials, and coupons redeemable for tobacco products.

Indiana: House Bill 1351 establishes a minimum purchase age of 21; requires a tobacco business to be 1,000 feet from schools (current businesses grandfathered in). Senate Bill 423 requires an individual to be at least 21 years of age to purchase, possess or sell tobacco, e-liquid or electronic cigarettes.


Missouri: House Bill 2159 increases the purchase age for tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age and bans the sale of flavored tobacco products.


Oklahoma: Senate Bill 1423 (pre-filed) increases the legal age to purchase and possess tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age.


Rhode Island: House Bill 7041 raises the legal age to 21 for the purchase of tobacco products, electronic nicotine delivery systems and liquid nicotine containers.



*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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