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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:

Georgia: 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%, read for a second time in the House.

Indiana: Senate Bill 1, which prohibits a person under age 21 from buying or possessing tobacco products or electronic cigarettes and triples the civil penalties for underage sales violation, passed in the Senate on January 23, 2020. House Bill 1006, which requires a person to be at least 21 to purchase tobacco products; requires age verification of a purchaser who appears to be under age 30; increases penalties (including loss of license) for underage sales; prohibits a tobacco business from locating within 1,000 feet of a school (current locations grandfathered) passed the House on January 21, 2020.

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age for tobacco and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age and bans the sale of flavored tobacco products, has been withdrawn from further consideration.

New Jersey: Assembly Bill 5922/5923 (combined) 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 (Vetoed by the Governor).


Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills

Arizona: House Bill 2636 raises the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21, requires retailers to verify age of purchasers who are under 30, creates a state tobacco retail licensing program and authorizes local jurisdictions to license and further regulate tobacco products. House Bill 2637 expands the restriction on on-line delivery sales to all tobacco products (including electronic cigarettes, cigars and pipe tobacco).

Hawaii: House Bill 1718, Senate Bill 2101 and Senate Bill 2173 authorize counties to regulate tobacco products.

Iowa: SSB3016 raises the age to purchase tobacco products to twenty-one (21); referred to the State Government Committee.

New Jersey: Assembly Bill 526 requires a manufacturer of cigarettes, tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices to forward to the Department of the Treasury, on a quarterly basis, $.25 of every $1 that the manufacturer spends on advertising or marketing cigarettes, tobacco products, or electronic smoking devices in the state.

New Mexico: House Bill 66 increases the legal purchase age for tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age. Senate Bill 166 increases the legal purchase age for tobacco products and vapor products from 18 to 21 years of age; alters the licensing requirements for the manufacture and retail sale of tobacco products; prohibits the self-service display of tobacco products except in an age-controlled retailer; and prohibits anyone from providing samples of tobacco products.

South Dakota: House Bill 1063 increases the legal purchase age for tobacco products to 21 years of age.

*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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