Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and many tobacco retailers being closed for business, legislation on tobacco and premium cigars remains active. More 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:
Indiana: Senate Bill 1, which prohibits a person under age 21 from buying or possessing tobacco, e-liquids or electronic cigarettes; doubles penalties for sales to minors; prohibits a tobacco retailer from being located within 1,000 ft. of a school (current retailers grandfathered); requires a retail establishment with 85% gross sales from tobacco and e-cigarettes be age 21 restricted, was signed by the Governor on March 18, 2020.
Kentucky: Senate Bill 56, which prohibits the sale of tobacco products and vapor products to persons under the age of 21, passed the House and was sent to the Governor on March 26, 2020. House Bill 351, which originally included cigarette and tobacco tax increases, was substituted in the House to remove the tax increases and passed the House on March 6, 2020.
Newly Introduced State Tobacco Bills
New York: Senate Bill 8135 requires a business that is shown to have sold a tobacco product to a minor to close pending the completion of an investigation; provides for the Commissioner of Taxation and Finance to revoke the dealer's registration for a period not less than five years if they are found to have sold such tobacco product to a minor.
*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.