Tackling Tobacco: October 2019 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

Melissa Kress
Senior News Editor
Melissa Kress profile picture
tobacco sales at retail

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.


Tucson — The Tucson City Council voted to hike the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. As part of the measure, retailers who sell tobacco will now be required to obtain a retail license; the fees from the licenses will cover the cost of annual compliance checks. The ordinance goes into effect on Jan. 1.


Los Angeles — Add Los Angeles County to the list of jurisdictions taking action against flavored tobacco. On Oct. 1, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol. The legislation goes into effect in November. Tobacco retailers will have 180 days to obtain new licenses required under the ordinance and to remove flavored tobacco products from their stores.

San Diego — The Board of Supervisors approved a one-year ban on the sale and distribution of all electronic cigarettes and vapor products in unincorporated areas of San Diego County. The county will also prohibit the sale and distribution of all flavored products for smoking, prohibit smoking in outdoor dining patio areas, and establish a buffer zone outside of outdoor dining patio areas.


Breckenridge — The Summit Board of County Commissioners adopted new regulations for the sale of nicotine and tobacco products in unincorporated areas of the county. The ordinance raises the legal minimum age to buy nicotine and tobacco products to 21, and requires retailers to obtain a license to sell the products. The ordinance also applies to paraphernalia used for tobacco and nicotine products.

Lafayette — Lafayette City Council voted 5-2 to ban the sale of tobacco products to consumers under 21. Under then measure, anyone under 21 is also prohibited from possessing, consuming or using tobacco products. The council will hold a second reading on the ordinance on Nov. 4.


Frankfort — State Rep. Jerry Miller (R-Louisville) proposed legislation aimed at electronic cigarettes. The proposed bill would require vaping retailers and manufacturers to register with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and pay a $500 annual licensing fee; prohibit retailers and manufacturers from selling products outside of stores, including online; and require retailers to check customers' IDs through an electronic third-party source.

Earlier this year, Miller also proposed a separate bill that would impose a 27.5 percent excise tax on e-cigarettes and vapor products. Both bills will come up for discussion during the state's 2020 legislative session.


Pekin — The Pekin City Council amended its Tobacco 21 ordinance to ban the possession of tobacco and vaping products by anyone under 21. The previous measure only banned the sale of the products to anyone under 21. The change allows the Pekin police to give out warnings or fines to those under the age of 21 in possession of vaping and tobacco products.


St. Anthony — The St. Anthony City Council unanimously approved legislation to raise the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.

St. Paul — The St. Paul City Council unanimously adopted a Tobacco 21 measure. The change, which goes into effect in mid-November, sets penalties for retailers ranging from a $200 fine to lose of their license.

West St. Paul — West St. Paul became the 49th community in Minnesota to approve Tobacco 21 legislation when the city council unanimously passed the measure on Oct. 14.


Kearney — City officials approved a measure to raise the legal tobacco buying age to 21. After the Board of Aldermen reached a tie vote, Mayor Randy Pogue cast the deciding vote on the Tobacco 21 proposal.


Philadelphia — The Philadelphia City Council and Mayor John Kenney joined to introduce as proposal to ban the sale of flavored vapor products and nicotine salts in businesses accessible to children. The proposal also caps the amount of nicotine in electronic cigarettes to 20 milligrams per milliliter.