Tackling Tobacco: October 2017 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.
San Leandro — San Leandro joined the growing list of municipalities banning the sale of flavored tobacco products. On Oct. 16, the San Leandro City Council voted 6-1 to ban flavored tobacco products, even nicotine-free products, and create a tobacco retailers licensing program. The new regulations go into effect next summer.
Unflavored chewing tobacco and menthol products can be sold by licensed retailers.
The measure requires all tobacco retailers in San Leandro to get a license, including those selling electronic cigarettes. License costs will be determined at a later date.
Elk Grove Village — Mayor Craig Johnson has decided to drop his bid to prohibit the sale of tobacco products in Elk Grove Village. However, he is still supporting a move to increase the minimum age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21.
Johnson also asked the pull any discussion on the proposals from the Dec. 13, meeting of the Judiciary, Planning & Zoning Committee. Instead, the Elk Grove Village Board of Trustees will discuss the legal minimum buying age on Nov. 14.
Seymour — The Smoke Free Seymour coalition is urging local officials to approve additions to the municipality's current smoking laws.
The changes include banning smoking from all bars and clubs, including those with private membership; increasing the distance where smoking is permitted near a public entrance from 10 feet to 20 feet; making smoking illegal at festivals and other public gatherings of 50 or more people; and to include all electronic forms of smoking, such as e-cigarettes and vape machines.
Clear Lake — The members of the Clear Lake City Council passed an ordinance to ban smoking in public parks and beaches. However, the council amended the measure to remove smokeless tobacco from the ban. According to reports, Gary Hugi, an at-large councilman, introduced the amendment because he believed enforcing that part of the ordinance would be difficult.
Iowa City — Elected officials in Iowa City voted in favor of prohibiting smoking, chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes use in all of the city's parks. The Iowa City Council approved the measure by a 6-to-1 vote on Oct. 17.
Frankfort — The Coalition for a Smoke-Free Tomorrow launched to support state and local policy changes to improve the state's health by reducing tobacco use, and protecting residents from secondhand smoke and other tobacco emissions.
Topping the alliance's list of policy initiatives is increasing Kentucky's cigarette tax by at least $1 per pack. The proposed tobacco tax would raise $266 million in new state revenue, while also reducing Kentucky's health care expenditures and creating a healthier workforce, the partners said. Kentucky's current tax rate is 60 cents per pack.
Easthampton — The Easthampton Board of Health voted in favor of new rules increasing the legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. The change will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018. The rules also cap the number of tobacco sales permits at 19.
Parkville — The Parkville Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products in early October. The change to 21 years of age went into effect Nov. 1. The new age also applies to alternative nicotine delivery products such as electronic cigarettes and vaping devices.
San Antonio — The San Antonio Metro Health conducted an online study which found that 77 percent of the 5,447 respondents support increasing the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.
The study comes as the San Antonio City Council is slated to vote on an ordinance raising the age from 19 on Dec. 7. If approved, the ordinance would apply to all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes and vapor products. It would go into full in the summer.