Tackling Tobacco: December 2018 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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tobacco legislation
Passage of several Tobacco 21 measures usher out the year.

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.


Arlington Heights — The committee-of-the-whole for Arlington Heights recommended the Village Board of Trustees approve increasing the minimum age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. The board could review the proposed ordinance in January.

Lake Zurich — In an unanimous move, the Village Board of Trustees approved an ordinance banning the sale, purchase and possession of tobacco products and nicotine products to consumers under 21. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1.

Park Ridge — The Park Ridge City Council passed a proposal to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to consumers under 21. The new age requirement, which was approved 5-1, will go into effect Feb. 1.

The change to the city’s local laws will not impact possession and use of tobacco products within the city limits, which will remain illegal for anyone under age 18, but not illegal for consumers 18  to 20 years old.


Fall River — The Fall River Board of Health voted unanimously to increase the legal minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21. The increase is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 30, one day before a statewide Tobacco 21 measure goes into effect. The state law includes a grandfather clause of anyone who turns 18 before Dec. 31 unless an existing local ordinance prohibits the sale to consumers under 21.

Somerville — The Somerville Board of Health adopted new rules for the sale of electronic cigarettes, allowing them only in 21-and-over tobacco stores. Local officials said the municipality is the first in Massachusetts to adopt such a rule. The board also voted in favor of similar rule for the sale of menthol cigarettes. The new restrictions go into place on April 1.


Glenwood — The Pope County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to increase the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The ordinance does not change the minimum legal age to possess tobacco products, which remains at 18. The new rule was slated to go into effect in late December.

Waseca — Local officials approved a Tobacco 21 ordinance by a vote of 4 to 3. The new law, which raised the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21, will go into effect in three months.


Keene — The City Council passed a Tobacco 21 ordinance, increasing the minimum legal age to buy, use and possess tobacco and nicotine products to 21. The ordinance went into effect immediately following the vote on Dec. 6. The legislation sets fines of up to $50 for the first offense and $100 for each subsequent offense.


Albuquerque — State Sen. Cisco McSorley (D-16th District) plans to introduce several pieces of tobacco legislation in the upcoming legislative session. The bills will propose raising the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21; banning the use of electronic cigarettes indoors, including anywhere smoking is prohibited; banning the sale of flavored tobacco products; and increasing the state tax on tobacco products.


Cincinnati — The Cincinnati City Council voted 5 to 3 to hike the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The legislation does not criminalize tobacco users 18 to 20 years old for using or obtaining tobacco products, according to Councilmember Tamaya Dennard, who sponsored the ordinance.


Philadelphia — Restrictions on tobacco sales will remain in place after the Philadelphia City Council voted to uphold them. The restrictions do not allow a business owner to include the transfer of a tobacco retailer license as part of a sale and prohibit a tobacco retailer from opening up within 500 feet of a school. The restrictions also limit the number of tobacco retailers in a certain area, based on the existing number per 1,000 residents.