Tackling Tobacco: February 2020 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup
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.
Manhattan Beach — The city council adopted an ordinance banning all tobacco sales within the Manhattan Beach limits. The measure goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
According to city officials, applications for a hardship exemption — which will give retailers the opportunity to demonstrate that they need more time in complying with the ordinance beyond 2020 — will be accepted from Sept. 1 through Oct. 31.
Boise — The Iowa Senate voted 10-22 against a measure to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.
Indianapolis — State legislators agreed on a proposal to double the fines tobacco retailers could face for selling tobacco to anyone under 21 years old. The agreement calls for the maximum fine for a first violation from $200 to $400.
Topeka — The Kansas House of Representatives is considering a proposal to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21, ban cigarette vending machines and ban the sale of flavored vapor products, excluding menthol.
Carlton — The Carlton County Board of Commissioners revised a previously approved tobacco ordinance that, among other things, would have banned the sale of flavored tobacco products.
The ordinance raised the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 and also prohibited the sale of all flavored tobacco products in the county, However, the commissioners removed the section banning flavored tobacco products after receiving community feedback. The Tobacco 21 measure goes into effect May 1.
Cloquet — The city council raised the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21 in an unanimous vote on Feb. 4. The city's age now complies with the new federal policy. The ordinance went into effect on Feb. 5.
Duluth — The St. Louis County Board of Commissioners passed a measure raising the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The change brings the county into compliance with the new federal policy.
Minneapolis — Members of the state legislature are considering two tobacco-related bills: one to ban the sale of all flavored vapor products and one to ban the sale of all tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old.
Santa Fe — New Mexico lawmakers gave final approval to tobacco legislation when the House of Representatives passed SB 131 on Feb. 19. The measure raises the state's legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 and requires a license to sell tobacco products.
Regulation responsibilities will go to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Division of the Regulation and Licensing Department with enforcement falling to the Department of Public Safety. The licensing fees would go toward administrative and enforcement costs.
Oklahoma City — The state Senate Health and Human Services Committee voted in favor of legislation to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products 18 to 21 across the state. The change, which is headed to the full Senate for consideration, brings the state in compliance with the new federal policy.
Madison — The Wisconsin Assembly voted in favor of a Tobacco 21 measure, raising the state's legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The legislation now heads to the state Senate, which may vote on it in March.
Cheyenne — The Wyoming House Revenue Committee voted in favor of a Tobacco 21 proposal. Already approved by the state Senate, the measure moves to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
The committee also approved a companion bill that bans the wholesale or retail sale of any nicotine product either directly to anyone under 21 or to a vendor who does not verify that everyone purchasing the product is not at least 21. The proposal previously received Senate approval and now moves to the full House for a vote.