Tackling Tobacco: September 2023 Legislative & Regulatory Roundup
A circuit court in Oregon lets stand Multnomah County's ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products.
Renée M. Covino
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.
Temecula — Temecula City Council tentatively approved an updated tobacco ordinance that includes restricting the number of smoke shops that can open in the city to one per 10,000 Temecula residents; keeping smoke shops out of local neighborhoods and away from sensitive areas like schools; and banning neon signs that promote tobacco products. It also opted to further discuss a ban on smoking in public spaces.
Honolulu — A bill aimed at banning the sale of flavored vaping products on Oʻahu is seeing strong support — but some councilmembers believe the language of the bill should be reworded because it could additionally limit the marketing of cigars and hookah.
Boston — The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Revenue heard proposed legislation to raise tobacco taxes. Under the bill, the levy on a pack of cigarettes would increase to $4.51. The levy on cigars and smoking tobacco would increase to 80 percent of the wholesale price.
St. Paul — Member of the St. Paul City Council approved a measure prohibiting smoking in several public areas, including near buildings and in public parks. The ordinance sets smokef-ree zones within 25 feet of the entrances, exits, windows and ventilation intakes of businesses and applies to tobacco products, marijuana and vapor products. It includes an exemption for existing designated area in parks.
Syracuse — A new law that went into effect Oct. 1 restricts the placement of new tobacco retail locations near schools and parks. The ordinance also caps the number of available tobacco retail licenses and sets a licensing approval policy that will reduce tobacco retail locations in the city in the future. The restriction does not impact current locations that follow city permit requirements.
Raleigh — State legislators approved a measure to change the tax rate on snuff from 12.8 percent of the cost price to 40 cents per ounce and tax alternative nicotine products at 10 cents per container, up to 20 units per container and one-half cent per unit after 20 units. Gov. Roy Cooper indicated he will let the tax changes go into effect.
Portland — Multnomah County's ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products will go into effect in January 2024, according to a ruling from the Multnomah County Circuit Court. The ruling came after the judge disagreed with a recent lawsuit filed by the 21+ Tobacco and Vapor Retail Association of Oregon that alleged the ordinance, which passed unanimously in December 2022, was "unlawful and unenforceable."