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Tackling Tobacco: October 2020 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup

Melissa Kress
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.


San Mateo — The San Mateo City Council adopted a measure banning the sale of electronic cigarettes and flavored tobacco products, including menthol. The city will begin enforcing the ordinance on Jan. 1, 2021.

San Diego — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of an ordinance creating a tobacco retail license for unincorporated areas of the county. The board will hold a second reading for formal adoption on Nov. 17. If approved, the measure would set a minimum pack size and a minimum price for sales; allow the county to enforce minimum age laws and a previously adopted ban on flavored tobacco products; and, prohibit the sale of tobacco products at pharmacies.


Naperville — The Naperville City Council is granting a six-month waiver for some liquor and tobacco licensing fees as retailers continue to face COVID-19 challenges. The waiver applies to liquor license and permit fees for businesses that offer on-premise alcohol consumption, and renewal fees for certain tobacco and cigarette dealers that were closed as a result of stay-at-home directives. Essential businesses that remained opened are not eligible for the waiver.


Baltimore — Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott introduced legislation to set a 30-percent excise tax on the sale of electronic smoking devices, including e-cigarettes, e-hookahs and vape pens. The council's taxation and finance committee is considering the bill.


Bernalillo County — Bernalillo County commissioners increased the legal minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21.  According to the measure, it is also illegal to sell or give tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. Retail stores and establishments are responsible for ensuring that purchasers are 21 years old. Violators are subject to a fine not to exceed $100. The ordinance also states stores must also post signs stating the new age requirement for tobacco purchases.


Guthrie — Members of the Guthrie City Council voted 5 to 2 to amend an ordinance to raise the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products to 21. The move brings the local measure in line with the state and federal tobacco buying age.

About the Author

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress

Melissa Kress is Executive Editor of Convenience Store News. She joined the brand in 2010. Melissa handles much of CSNews' hard news coverage, such as mergers and acquisitions and company financial reports, and the technology beat. She is also one of the industry's leading media experts on the tobacco category.

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