Tackling Tobacco: November 2023 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

An effort is underway to override the Ohio governor's veto of a ban on local flavored tobacco bans.
Legislation entry in a dictionary

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.


Detroit — The Detroit City Council amended an existing tobacco city ordinance, adding vaping products and raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. Additionally, the revised ordinance calls for enhanced enforcement measures, including a $100 fine for a first offense and a $500 fine for a second offense for anyone selling tobacco-related products to minors.


St. Paul — The St. Paul City Council proposed officially eliminating tobacco vending machines, while also reducing the number of available tobacco shop licenses from 150 to 100. In addition, penalties for underage tobacco sales, sales of single cigarettes or sales of flavored tobacco other than specialty shops would switch to criminal misdemeanors, up from $500 to $1,000 fines, license suspensions and revocations. 

Establishments already holding tobacco shop or tobacco product shop licenses would still be entitled to have their licenses renewed. A public hearing is set for early December. 


Trenton — New Jersey lawmakers plan to advance legislation that would end a carveout to the state's indoor smoking ban within gambling facilities. New Jersey banned indoor smoking in 2006 but allowed the practice to continue in casinos and their simulcasting facilities. Gov. Phil Murphy said he would sign the bill.


Cleveland — A group comprised of Black community leaders, American Heart Association representatives and Cleveland Department of Public Health Director Dr. David Margolius are urging city lawmakers to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in Cleveland. The push would affect vapor products and menthol cigarettes, but carves out an exception for hookah and hookah bars.

Columbus — Several state legislators are looking for support to override Gov. Mike DeWine's veto of a  bill that would ban municipalities from enacting local bans on the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. This is DeWine's second veto of the legislation. The governor is calling for a statewide ban.

The movement to override the governor's veto comes as a ban on flavored tobacco products in Columbus takes effect in January. Other cities, including Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, are considering bans.

Shaker Heights — The Shaker Heights City Council became the 10th county in Ohio to join the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Tobacco 21 program. Enforcement of underage sales will begin March 1, 2024. Local officials are also considering prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol.

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