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 — The Connecticut General Assembly could vote on the future of flavored tobacco products, including vapor, this year.
On March 5, the state legislature's Public Health Committee approved the measure, SB 326, by a 25-to-8 vote. Under the bill, no distributor or dealer would be able to sell, offer for sale, display for sale or possess with intent to sell any flavored tobacco product or electronic nicotine delivery system. Violators would face a $300 fine for the first violation and a $750 fine for a second violation that occurs within 36 months of the date of the first violation.
For a third violation within 36 months of the date of the first violation, the penalty would be a $1,000 fine, a 30-day suspended license suspension and possible revocation. The fourth violation within 36 months of the first violation will result in state revoking a distributor of dealer's license.
If approved, the legislation would got into effect Oct. 1.
Boise — The state House of Representatives' Health and Welfare Committee approved a bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21. The Idaho Senate previously approved the measure.
Saint Paul — The Minnesota House of Representatives' Committee of the Preventive Health Policy Division voted in favor of advancing a bill that would increase taxes on tobacco products. The bill proposes to raise the state's cigarette excise tax by $1.50 per pack, end the tax break for premium cigars, and tax electronic cigarette and vapor devices as tobacco products.
Hempstead Town — The Hempstead Town Board approved measures to combat youth tobacco use. One new piece of legislation prohibits the sale of electronic cigarettes and vapor products within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or park. The second restricts the opening of tobacco businesses to light manufacturing or industrial zones.
Casper City — The Casper City Council approved a Tobacco 21 ordinance, bringing the city's rule in line with the new federal and state minimum tobacco buying age. The council originally voted down the measure on Dec. 1; however, after some revisions, the council voted in favor of the measure on the third and final reading.
Cheyenne — A proposal to increase state levies on cigarettes and moist snuff products died in the state House of Representatives. The House Revenue Committee previously voted 6-3 to recommend the full House pass House Bill 55, which would have raise the state cigarette excise tax 24 cents a pack to 84 cents a pack and raise the tax on moist snuff from 60 cents per ounce plus a proportionate tax at the same rate for any amount more than 1 ounce to 72 cents per ounce plus a proportionate tax at the same rate for any amount more than 1 ounce. However, the measure died when the full chamber failed to hold a first reading vote ahead of a March 22 deadline.