Tackling Tobacco: April 2019 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

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Tackling Tobacco: April 2019 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

By Melissa Kress - 05/01/2019
newspaper headline about changes in legislation

NATIONAL REPORT — Tobacco legislation and regulation is constantly under review at the local, state and federal levels. In this monthly roundup, Convenience Store News highlights the latest proposals and approved changes happening across the United States.

CALIFORNIA

Sacramento — The Sacramento City Council voted on April 16 to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including flavored e-cigarettes and menthol cigarettes. The council members voted 7-1 in favor of the ordinance, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

COLORADO

Denver — A measure to add electronic cigarettes and vaping products to Colorado's indoor smoking ban is heading to the state Senate. The bill would also increase the radius between a building and a smoking area from 15 to 25 feet. The state House of Representatives approved the bill 48-17 on April 18.

CONNECTICUT

Meriden — The city council approved a Tobacco 21 ordinance on April 15. The new law takes effect within 180 days. A person or business selling tobacco to someone under 21 would be issued a written warning, and face follow-up fines of $100 and $250 for a second and third offense.

Milford — Local legislators upped the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The new age went into effect April 19. Tobacco retailers are required to posts signs about the change within 30 days of the effective date.

DELAWARE

Dover — Add Delaware to the growing list of Tobacco 21 states. On April 17, Gov. John Carney signed legislation increasing the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The law takes effect July 16. The measure levies a fine up to $1,000 for violations.

MARYLAND

Annapolis — On April 3, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation to the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The measures exempts military personnel. If signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan, the change would go into effect Oct. 1.

NORTH DAKOTA

Bismarck — On April 8, Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation setting a $500 fine for selling any individual package of flavored e-liquid or any vapor product containing e-liquid to minors. It goes into effect in August.

OHIO

Columbus — Gov. Mike DeWine introduced a proposal to increase the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products in the state from 18 to 21. The Tobacco 21 measure is part of the DeWine's proposed budget.

Summit — Members of the Summit County Council voted to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 on April 15.

University Heights — The legal minimum age to buy tobacco products is now 21 in University Heights. The new measure went into effect April 17.

OREGON

Salem — State legislators began hearing testimony on House Bill 2270, which raises the state excise tax on a pack of cigarettes by $2. The bill includes a formula to make a comparable increase on electronic cigarettes. Gov. Kate Brown said the additional tax revenue would be used to pay down the state's Medicaid shortfall. Oregon's current levy is $1.33 per pack.

TEXAS

Austin — State senators approved Senate Bill 21, which would raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products across Texas to 21. The legislation, which passed by a 20-11 vote, exempts active duty military personnel. The Texas House approved a companion bill in March; however, that version did not include a military exemption. Both chambers need to approve identical versions before it can be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott.

VERMONT

Montpelier — The Vermont House gave preliminary approval on April 23 to a Tobacco 21 bill. The proposal contained a different implementation date than the original legislation passed by the Senate. The two chambers will have to agree on a date before it can be passed and sent to Gov. Phil Scott.

The Senate version of the bill called for an effective date of July 1. The House version delayed implementation to Sept. 1. Under the bill, violators would face a civil fine of $25 and the forfeiture of the illicit tobacco products.