Tackling Tobacco: June 2019 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.
Livermore — The Livermore City Council voted in favor of a measure to ban the sales of all flavored tobacco products and electronic delivery devices. The ordinance also sets a 1,000-foot buffer zone between tobacco retailers and sites like schools and libraries.
Aspen — The Aspen City Council voted to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco. The ban comes on the heels of a less restrictive move to prohibit the sale of flavored electronic cigarettes, which local lawmakers approved in May. The new ban, which goes into effect Jan. 1, covers all flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes.
Springfield — The Illinois state cigarette excise tax will go up $1, from $1.98 a pack to $2.98 pack, effective July. 1. The tax hike is part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker's $45 billion infrastructure plan that state lawmakers approved on June 1. The infrastructure bill also imposes a statewide 15-percent tax on electronic cigarettes.
With the change at the state level, cigarette buyers in Chicago will pay a an overall levy of $8.17 per pack when factoring in local, state and federal taxes.
Lansing — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation barring the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and from minors using the products. Though banned at the federal level, Michigan did not have its own restrictions. Under the laws, people who sell tobacco, vapor or alternative nicotine products to minors will face larger misdemeanor fines ranging from $100 for a first offense to $2,500 for a third or subsequent offense. Minors will receive a civil infraction for their first or second offense, with a maximum $50 fine.
Breckenridge — Wilkin County commissioners unanimously approved legislation to raise the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. The measure goes into effect Sept. 1. With the vote, Wilkin County became the six county in Minnesota to pass a Tobacco 21 measure.
Byron —The Byron City Council adopted an ordinance to raise the tobacco buying age to 21. The new measure goes into effect July 1.
Salem — The Oregon House of Representatives voted in favor of a proposal to raise the state's tobacco tax. By a 39-21 vote, legislators approved a measure to increase the state's cigarette excise tax by $2 to $3.33 and to impose a new tax on electronic cigarettes. Under the proposal, e-cigarettes and cigars will be taxed at 65 percent of wholesale price.
The proposal heads to the state Senate, and if approved there, the proposal would head to voters in 2020. The additional revenue would be used to fill a Medicaid shortfall.