Tackling Tobacco: May 2020 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
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Gov. Tim Walz signs several bills into law on May 16, including the state's new Tobacco 21 rule.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signs several bills into law on May 16, including the state's new Tobacco 21 rule.

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.


Culver City — The city's prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco went into effect on May 25. Under the new rule, only tobacco shops are allowed to sell flavored tobacco products — including e-liquids.  The flavored tobacco ban for tobacco stores goes into effect in November. The Culver City Council adopted the ordinance in October 2019.

Oakland — The Oakland City Council unanimously approved a measure to ban the sale of flavored and menthol tobacco products at tobacco stores and pharmacies. The vote closed a loophole in a 2017 ordinance that prohibited the sale of flavored tobacco in the city, but exempted adult-only tobacco stores.

Pleasanton — The Pleasanton City Council approved an ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco products. The ban goes into effect on Jan. 21, 2021.


St. Paul — Gov. Tim Walz signed legislation increasing the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The action, which brings the state's age into line with the new federal tobacco buying age, comes three years after Edina became the first municipality in Minnesota to enact a Tobacco 21 rule.


Albany — Two pieces of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Comprehensive Tobacco Control Policy took effect on May 18. The first law prohibits the sale of flavored nicotine vapor products, and the second bans the sale of all tobacco and nicotine vapor products in pharmacies. Both Executive Budget Proposals were included in the enacted FY 2020-21 budget.

The law does not include flavorless and tobacco-flavored nicotine vapor products, as well as nicotine vapor products that are approved by the FDA, which has currently approved none, according to the state Department of Health.


Raleigh — State legislators are discussing a bill that would reduce the state excise tax on reduced-risk tobacco products. The change would apply only to those products that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration as modified risk.

House Bill 1080 would amend a June 2018 revenue bill that at created eligibility for the reduced excise tax. According to reports, the bill's language now places the responsibility on the manufacturer to inform the N.C. Revenue Department of the modified-risk designation in order to qualify for the reduced tax rate.

A companion bill, Senate Bill 727, is circulating in the state Senate.


Oklahoma City — Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Tobacco 21 legislation into law on May 19. The law bans the sale of all tobacco products to any under 21, bringing it in line with the recently upped federal age.

About the Author

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress is Senior News Editor of Convenience Store News. Read More