Tackling Tobacco: December 2019 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Legislation in scrabble tiles

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.


Chico — The Chico City Council approved a measure banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. The vote came after a recommendation from the council's Internal Affairs Committee regarding flavored tobacco sales.

Palo Alto — Members of the Palo Alto City Council directed staff to prepare an ordinance banning the sale of electronic cigarettes and vapor products. They also asked for annual updates on tobacco enforcement and for the staff to explore disincentives or fines to vaping in public.


Flint — The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision that a county could not adopt a regulation that is stricter than state law, effectively striking down Genesee County Tobacco 21 legislation. County commissioners approved raising the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 in 2017; however, enforcement has been held up by a legal challenge. State law sets the minimum age at 18.


Durham — Town officials approved a Tobacco 21 measure, prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. The ordinance went into effective immediately upon passage. The state's legal age to buy tobacco products increases from 18 to 19 as of Jan. 1. 


Jersey City — Local lawmakers adopted an ordinance prohibiting the sale of flavored vapor products. With an 8-1 vote, the Jersey City Council approved the ban that includes e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes, vape pens, and their accessories.


Mineola — Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed into law legislation banning the sale of most flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products in Nassau County. The measure, which was approved unanimously by the full Nassau County Legislature on Nov. 25, prohibits the sale of flavored vaping products except for those that are tobacco, mint, or menthol flavored. The ban takes effect on Jan. 1.

Nassau County's Departments of Health and Consumer Affairs will spearhead enforcement. Violations are punishable by fines of $500 to $1,000 for initial offenses; second and subsequent violations carry a fine of $1,000 to $2,000.


Philadelphia — The Philadelphia City Council approved legislation restricting the sale of flavored vapor products to adult-only retail establishments. Other retailers that are not age-restricted, including convenience stores and gas stations, are still allowed to sell tobacco-flavored cartridges and e-cigarettes; however, the ban also restricts the sale of cartridges with high concentrations of nicotine. 

The City Council also banned the sale of all flavored cigarillos.