Tackling Tobacco: New Year's 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.
Naperville — The new year ushered in a new minimum legal age — 21 years old — to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products in Naperville. The measure will apply to alternative nicotine products like electronic cigarettes on Jan. 1, 2018.
Retailers in violation of the new legislation face fines between $100 and $500. The measure does not criminalize the purchase, possession or use of cigarettes or alternative nicotine products by people younger than 21.
Ann Arbor — The city became the first in Michigan to join the Tobacco 21 movement when the legal age to buy tobacco products jumped to 21 on Jan. 1. Retailers face up to a $500 fine for selling to consumers under 21 years old.
Muskegon — In mid-December, Muskegon County Commissioners unanimously supported a measure to change the legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. Currently, Ann Arbor is the only municipality in Michigan to set 21 as the minimum age.
Willmar — New tobacco regulations have gone into effect in Kandiyohi County. The use of e-cigarettes is now prohibited in public places where traditional smoking is prohibited. In addition, smokers must stand at least 25 feet from any business and workplace entrance.
Tobacco retailers are also now prohibited from providing product samples. The changes went into effect Jan. 1.
St. Louis — The City of St. Louis joined St. Louis County in raising the minimum age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The Board of Alderman approved the measure in November.
Trenton — The Trenton City Council is considering legislation that would set the legal age to buy tobacco products at 21 years old. The council gave its initial approval on Dec. 15. Under the measure, retailers would face fines ranging from $250 for a first offense up to $1,000 for repeat offenses. The city's health department may also suspend the retail food establishment license of a violator for up to three days.
Columbus — Members of the Columbus City Council voted to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 on Dec. 12. The measure applies to any tobacco product and paraphernalia, including vapor, papers, cigarettes, cigars, and hookah. The new regulation will be enforced starting in September.