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BALTIMORE -- The sale of individual cigars to be banned in Baltimore effective Oct. 1, under a regulation announced yesterday by Mayor Sheila Dixon.
"These products are addictive and deadly," Mayor Sheila Dixon said at a news conference cited by the Baltimore Examiner. "And yet, cheap cigars often carry no health label at all."
Regulation of these cigars would put them on par with cigarettes, which also may not be sold individually, according to the report. Once the measure is enacted, cigars must be sold in packages of at least five.
Dixon said she plans to introduce a bill in the City Council to require enforcement and tougher penalties for violating the legislation, which will be enforced by the health department.
"We need to back it up with legislation so we have the enforcement," she said.
After an initial warning, stores selling single cigars would get a $100 fine. The legislation would carry a $150 first-time fine for violators, according to the report. Cigars sold in tobacco stores or those costing more than $2.50 were not included in the regulation.
Opponents to the legislation, including the Maryland Association of Tobacco and Candy Distributors, challenged the health department's authority to regulate cigars.
"It's an enforcement problem," Bruce Bereano, spokesman for the association, told the paper, adding the state regulates tobacco sales.