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.
Los Angeles — Retailers will no longer be allowed to sell flavored tobacco products in the city. Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the ban into law, which carves out an exception for hookah lounges that meet certain conditions, on June 13 after the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the ordinance on June 1. It will go into effect on Jan. 1, and it does not ban the possession or use of flavored tobacco for people over the age of 21.
San Diego — Mayor Todd Gloria signed an ordinance restricting the sale of flavored tobacco products.
The ordinance, known as the Stop Adolescent Addiction to Flavored E-Cigarettes Act, makes it unlawful for retailers within the city to sell or distribute specified flavored tobacco products effective Jan. 1. This includes any tobacco product that emits a taste or smell other than that of tobacco — such fruit, mint, candy, vanilla, dessert, alcoholic beverage, spice and menthol. The ordinance does not apply to the sale of shisha (typically used in hookahs), premium cigars or loose-leaf tobacco.
A statewide measure to ban the sale of specified flavored tobacco products in California will go before the voters this November. Should the measure be unsuccessful, the city's ordinance will still go into effect on Jan. 1.
Scotts Valley — The Scotts Valley City Council voted in favor of a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products. The new rule goes into effect on July 15. The measure covers products with a taste or smell other than the taste or smell of tobacco.
Honolulu — Gov. David Ige notified legislative leaders and key lawmakers that he intends to veto HB1570. The bill bans the sale of certain flavored tobacco products and mislabeled e-liquid products and establishes fines. The measure passed the state legislature in early May.
Ige's veto rationale cites a late amendment to the definition of flavored tobacco product in the bill which carved out an exemption for certain tobacco products approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The amendment, according to the governor's office, essentially renders the bill ineffective since very few products would actually be included in this ban. In addition, the bill contains subjects that may go beyond its title in violation of the Hawaii State Constitution.
Trenton — The New Jersey Assembly Health Committee approved a bill, A1989, prohibiting the sale of all menthol cigarettes and flavored electronic nicotine delivery systems in New Jersey.
Under the proposed legislation, violators who sell flavored smoking devices would face a $500 fine for the first offense, $750 for the second offense and $1,000 for the third and subsequent offenses, followed by a three-year suspension of their retail license. The fines for selling menthol cigarettes would be $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second offense, and $1,000 for third and subsequent offenses.
Salem — The Salem City Health District board approved a measure to require retailers to obtain an annual permit as part of the city's Tobacco 21 program, which takes effect July 15. Each permit is $100.