Tobacco Roundup of America’s Heartland

The following is a quick blast of the latest regulatory/legislative news from the Midwest region of the United States.

Cigarette Taxes

Of the 12 states composing the north-central region of the U.S. (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin), one state has this year approved an increase in cigarette excise tax legislation -- Minnesota (now at $1.57 from $1.23); another state, Illinois, has passed a bill to raise the state’s cigarette excise tax from 98 cents to $1.98 per pack.

As for the other states in the region -- Kansas and Missouri have introduced increased tax legislation; the other seven -- North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michicgan, Indiana and Ohio -- have not, according to the Tobacco Merchants Association’s (TMA’s) Legislative Tracking Report (as of Sept. 23, 2010). 

It should be noted that currently, Missouri has the lowest cigarette excise tax in the nation, at 17 cents a pack.

Youth Tobacco Laws

Minnesota enacted legislation that amends the cigarette and tobacco statutes regarding the retail sale of tobacco to include “tobacco-related devices” and amends the penalties for the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 to include the sale of “tobacco-related devices.”

Nebraska enacted legislation that provides that a licensed tobacco products retailer may scan machine-readable information encoded on an operator’s license or a state ID card presented for the purpose of such a sale.

Self-Service Displays

Kansas enacted legislation that prohibits the sale of cigarettes or tobacco products at a self-service display.

Smoking Bans

Statewide smoking bans, prohibiting smoking in most public places (including bars and restaurants) and all workplaces were enacted in Michigan May 1, Wisconsin July 5, and in Minnesota and Kansas on July 1.

Also effective July 1, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in Minnesota banned smoking within 100 feet of building entrances, playgrounds, beaches and wading pools in Minneapolis. The policy also applies to areas within 50 feet of youth athletic fields and contests, as well as at most of the gardens and sanctuaries within the park system. The city posted “No Smoking” signs at these areas.

Effective Aug. 24, in Branson, Mo., the Branson Board of Aldermen voted to amend the city code to prohibit all tobacco use in city-owned vehicles, buildings and offices. The measure also bans tobacco use within 25 feet of entrances to city buildings.

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