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.
Hartford — A newly introduced state bill would prohibit the sale of electronic nicotine delivery systems and vapor products that are flavored or have a nicotine content greater than 35 milligrams per milliliter.
Augusta — Maine lawmakers proposed a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide. Four cities in the state have already approved such bans. . However, another bill would prohibit municipal flavored tobacco product bans on state-licensed tobacco retailers.
Additionally, lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products by pharmacies and retail establishments that contain pharmacies.
Pittsfield — The city's tobacco ordinance has been updated to include a more detailed definition for blunt wraps, a raised minimum price requirement for packaged cigars ($2.90 for one and $5.80 for two or more) and violations that incorporate state law. The changes go into effect April 1.
Jackson — A new bill would increase the tax on cigarettes by 50 cents per pack from the current rate of 68 cents to $1.18 per pack. Another bill would increase the tax on other tobacco products from 15 percent of the manufacturers list price to 22.5 percent of the manufacturer's list price.
Carson City — Effective Jan. 1, tobacco retailers are now required to use scanning technology or an automated software-based system to verify age on anyone under the age of 40 before selling tobacco products. Retailer compliance inspections will now include monitoring compliance.
Violations of sales to minors are subject to the current penalty structure, which includes a $100 fine for the first violation, and failure to use scanning or software technology will result in an additional $100 fine, regardless of customer age.
Santa Fe — A new state bill that would prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products has been referred to the state House Health and Human Services Committee.
Albany — Pushing for a "tobacco-free generation," a New York State Senate bill would increase the cigarette tax to $6.24 per pack from its current $4.35 levy.
Gov. Kathy Hochul also wants to further expand a ban on flavored vaping products by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco in New York. Another bill would require vapor product dealers to accept the return of used electronic cigarettes for recycling.
Salem — A bill in the Oregon Legislature is looking to enact a statewide ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products. Late last year, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners enacted a similar ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine product sales.