NATO submits legal commentary against cities where the legal age for purchasing tobacco products is 21.
NATO (National Association of Tobacco Outlets) is requesting that two California cities repeal their ordinances that raise the legal age for tobacco purchases to 21, rather than 18.
The requests have been submitted as legal commentary letters to the Healdsburg, Calif. City Council and the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors.
Under California state law, while cities and counties are allowed to enact retail tobacco licensing ordinances, local governments are prohibited from raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products.
NATO previously submitted a legal commentary letter to the Healdsburg City Council citing state law and California court cases that clearly demonstrate a local government is not allowed to raise the legal age to purchase tobacco products. However, the Healdsburg City Council proceed to adopted the age 21 requirement. Recently, the city attorneys for the cities of Los Angeles and El Cerrito, Calif. concluded that California cities are pre-empted from enacting a higher legal minimum age to purchase tobacco products because of the prohibition under state law. NATO has cited the conclusions of the Los Angeles and El Cerrito city attorneys in the association’s most recent correspondence requesting the rescission of the Healdsburg and Santa Clara County ordinances.
“Tobacco to 21” Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate
Today, a bill titled the “Tobacco to 21 Act” (Senate Bill 2100) was introduced in the U.S. Senate to prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. The bill was introduced by Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Senator Mazie Horono of Hawaii, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. The bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.
Updated Cigarette and Tobacco State Tax Maps
With a significant majority of state legislatures now adjourned for this year, an updated set of state cigarette and tobacco tax rate maps accompany this bulletin and can also be found on NATO’s website, www.natocentral.org. These five maps show the tax rates for cigarettes, cigarette smoking tobacco, smokeless tobacco, large cigars, and little cigars. These maps are an excellent reference for determining various cigarette and tobacco tax rates on tobacco products in all fifty states.