Tackling Tobacco: May 2018 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

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Tackling Tobacco: May 2018 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

By Melissa Kress - 06/01/2018
Must be 21 to purchase tobacco products
Sitka, Alaska becomes the first municipality in the state to embrace Tobacco 21.

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.

ALASKA

Sitka — The municipality became the first in Alaska to approve Tobacco legislation. The Sitka City Assembly voted 6-1 in favor of increasing the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The ordinance goes into effect on Aug. 22 after elected officials voted 4-3 to move the implantation date from the previously proposed Oct. 1. The fines are $300 for the first offense, $600 for the second and $1,000 for subsequent offenses.

ILLINOIS

Batavia — The Batavia Board of Aldermen Committee of the Whole failed to support a proposal to increase the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The measure failed to advance when the 12-member committee voted in a 6-6 tie. However, the committee did adopt a resolution to support a statewide Tobacco 21 measure.

Des Plaines — After a favorable vote by the Des Plaines City Council anyone under 18 years old who is caught vaping or using electronic cigarettes for the first time will be required to take an educational class instead of receiving a $25 fine.

Springfield — The Illinois House voted 61-49 to ban tobacco sales to anyone under 21 years old. The approval came on day after the first tally failed by four votes. The Illinois Senate previously approved the Tobacco 21 measure. It now heads to Gov. Bruce Rauner for action.

Wheaton — Wheaton city officials voted to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The new law goes into effect July 1.

MASSACHUSETTS

Boston —The Massachusetts House voted in favor of making Tobacco 21 legislation the law of the state. Many Massachusetts municipalities have already increased the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. With a 146-4 vote, the House sent the bill to the state Senate to consider. If approved in the second legislative chamber, the measure would go into effect Jan. 1. It would not apply to anyone who is already 18 by that date.

Worcester — City Councilor-at-Large Morris Bergman made a move to put a new measure restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only outlets on hold. The Worcester Board of Health approved the regulation in late April and it is slated to go into effect on Jan. 1. However, Board of Health Chair David Fort said it is unlikely the board would reverse its unanimous decision.

MINNESOTA

Falcon Heights — The Falcon Heights City voted in favor of two tobacco measures in early May: increasing the legal minimum age to sell tobacco products to 21 and restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco stores.

Minneapolis — Members of the city council voted unanimously to make Minneapolis the latest Minnesota town to increase the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The measure takes effect Oct. 1.

Shoreview — The Shoreview City Council unanimously approved a proposal to increase the age to buy tobacco products to 21. The city already restricts the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco retail establishments.

St. Peter — The St. Peter City Council voted 4-3 to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. A vote on the measure ended in a tie last month. The change goes into effect Aug. 1.

NEW YORK

Albany — On May 14, Albany County legislators voted 26 to 11 to prohibit the sale of tobacco products and nicotine-based products in pharmacies and stores that contain a pharmacy. County Executive Daniel McCoy needs to sign the law before it is filed with the state, and it will take effect three months after that point. Roughly 33 retailers in the county will be affected.

Kingston — The Ulster County Legislature approved Tobacco 21 legislation on May 15, sending the measure to set 21 as the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to County Executive Michael Hein. Hein is expected to sign the measure into law and it will go into effect Jan. 1.

Nassau County — On May 23, county officials approved legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. The change goes into effect 60 days after Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signs it.

New Castle — Town officials approved an ordinance to ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. The New Castle police will enforce the law, which goes into effect once it is filed with the New York Secretary of State. Fines for violations are $350 for a first offense and $700 for a second. Fines are $1,000 for each additional offense or up to six months in prison, or both.

OHIO

Worthington — The Worthington City Council unanimously approved Tobacco 21 legislation. The new law takes effect on July 1 but citations or fines for any violations will be delayed until Oct. 1. The responsibility to oversee the measure will fall under the city's contract with the Columbus Public Health. Retailers who sell tobacco products, or want to sell tobacco products, need to apply for a license through the agency.