Tackling Tobacco: September 2016 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.
Chandler — The City Council is slated to vote to add electronic cigarettes to a ban on smoking in public places on Oct. 13. If approved, the ban would go into effect 30 days later. The measure only affects city property.
Yolo County — Yolo County Supervisors compromised on proposed tobacco legislation, approving a measure to ban all flavored tobacco products and to add language to the ordinance that would allow those legally selling tobacco products in unincorporated Yolo County to apply for retailer licenses, whether or not they are on the ordinance's list of approved businesses.
The officials also omitted the part of the ordinance that would have set cost and packaging guidelines for tobacco products. An updated ordinance reflecting these changes was to be presented to the board at its Sept. 27 meeting. If approved, the ordinance will take effect 30 days after its passage.
Naperville — The Naperville Liquor Commissioners directed staff to draw up two versions of an ordinance that would ban the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. One version would prohibit the sale, possession and consumption of tobacco for those under 21. The second version would prohibit only the sale of tobacco to those younger than 21.
Egremont — The Egremont Board of Health unanimously approved a measure increasing the minimum legal age to buy tobacco products from 18 to 21. The new rule goes into effect Nov. 15.
Northampton — In unanimous votes, the Board of Health approved three measures to limit and regulate tobacco sales. The board increased the minimum legal age to buy tobacco and nicotine delivery products from 18 to 21; restrict the sale of flavored tobacco products to permitted tobacco retailers; and decrease the number of tobacco sales permits from 36 to 28.
All three go into effect in January.
Worcester — The Board of Health declined to adopt new regulation prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas of restaurants and bars. Board members also put a one-year hold on regulations limiting the sale of flavored tobacco products to adult-only tobacco shops and prohibiting the sale of inexpensive cigars in single packages.
According to Chairman David Fort, the board has ended its discussions regarding any changes or additions to the city's tobacco regulations for the foreseeable future.
Lansing — State Sen. Rick Jones introduced legislation to protect small business owners against city ordinances that conflict with state law. The move comes on the heels of a new local ordinance in Ann Arbor that prohibits the sale of cigarettes to people under age 21. It was the first city in Michigan to raise the legal purchasing age above 18.
"This local law will do absolutely nothing to stop people from smoking; they will simply drive just outside the city and purchase what they want," said Jones, (R-Grand Ledge). "However, it will really harm the owners of small mom and pop stores and gas stations in the city who are just trying to make a living."
Jones' measure, Senate Bill 1066, would prohibit a local unit of government from banning a legal product to supersede state law. SB 1066 has been referred to the Senate Regulatory Reform Committee for consideration.
Jefferson City — The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that an amendment to raise the state's cigarette tax will remain on the November ballot.
This summer, Cole County Judge Jon Beetem ruled that the ballot measure to increase cigarette taxes in the state by 60 cents can stay on the Nov. 8 ballot. The decision followed an appeals court decision earlier this summer that changed the official summary of the measure. The original ruling said the ballot proposal summary, prepared by Secretary of State Jason Kander's office, should have noted a separate, new 67-cent-per-pack fee on some cigarette brands will rise annually.
Opponents of the ballot measure appealed Beetem's ruling.
Liberty — City officials approved several new pieces of tobacco legislation, which takes effect immediately. Lawmakers adopted a Tobacco 21 measure, prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 21 years old. They also passed a resolution restricting the sale and distribution of tobacco paraphernalia to tobacco retail stores which rings up 70 percent of sales from tobacco products.
In addition, city officials amended an existing ordinance to include non-tobacco products like electronic cigarettes, e-cigars, e-hookahs and e-pipes in smoking bans already established for enclosed places of employment and public places.
Cattaraugus County — County officials have raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21. The new age limit goes into effect Nov. 1.
Lane County — Lane County officials are reviewing a proposal to raise the minimum legal age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. They are holding a series of public comment sessions around the county for input.
Philadelphia — The Philadelphia Board of Health voted in favor of several new tobacco regulations. They include suspending tobacco sales permits for 12 months to retailers who are cited three times in two years for selling to minors; banning new tobacco retailer permits within 500 feet of kindergarten through 12th grade schools; limit permits to one retailer per 1,000 residents.
The measures are open to public comment and request for a hearing. The density limits will not apply to existing permit holders. The rules will go into effect later this year.
Kittitas County — Use of electronic cigarettes and vaping products is now banned in public facilities including bars and restaurants in Kittitas County. Commissioners added the products to existing smoking ban ordinances, which prohibit the use of cigarettes, pipes, cigars, or "any other lighted smoking equipment in public facilities.
The commissioners also updated its signage requirements so that businesses with “No Smoking” signs should update them to also say “No Vaping."