The cities of Berkeley and San Francisco are considering a possible proposal to increase the legal age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. In response to a letter from NATO advising the Berkeley City Council that California state law pre-empts (i.e., prohibits) a local government from raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products above the state legal minimum age of 18, the Berkeley City Council has assigned the issue of raising the legal age to 21 to a city commission for further review.
The City of Healdsburg and Santa Clara County previously adopted regulations increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21. NATO sent letters to the Healdsburg City Council and the Santa Clara Country Board of Supervisors requesting that age the 21 regulations be repealed. In response, the City of Healdsburg has announced that the age 21 regulation will not be enforced while the city requests an official opinion from the California Attorney General’s office. The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has indicated to NATO that a written response to the association’s letter requesting rescission of the regulation will be issued the first week of December.
The City of Palo Alto is also considering a possible age 21 ordinance. NATO has sent a letter to the Palo Alto City Council advising council members that the city is pre-empted from adopting an age 21 ordinance.
The Los Angeles Chief Legislative Analyst has informed the Los Angeles City Council that a council member’s request to draft an ordinance increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco products to 21 could not be complied with because California state law pre-empts such a local law from being adopted by a city or county government. This notification was provided to the Los Angeles City Council because the Los Angeles City Attorney determined that the City is not allowed to increase the minimum legal age to purchase tobacco products under state law.
The Chicago City Council has passed a tax on liquid nicotine products sold at retail a rate of “$.80 per product unit plus an additional $.55 per fluid milliliter of consumable liquid, gel or other solution contained in the product.”
These new taxes are imposed on the retail sale of these liquid nicotine products and paid by the consumer making the purchase. The new taxes take effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
The Cook County Board of Commissioners adopted as a part of the county’s 2016 budget a new tax on e-cigarettes, specifically a 20-cent tax per milliliter of liquid nicotine solution.
The Boston Public Health Commission has introduced a proposed regulation that would raise the legal age to 21 and prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products in retail stores, excluding those products with tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors. The regulation would allow for the sale of all flavored tobacco products in smoking bars and in retail tobacco stores (stores which primarily sell tobacco products and accessories, where the sale of other products is merely incidental, and which would under the proposal only allow persons 21 years old or older to enter the store). A public hearing on the Public Health Commission proposal is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015.
The St. Paul, Minnesota City Council is considering an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, excluding those products with tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen flavors. The regulation would allow for the sale of all flavored tobacco products in retail tobacco stores (stores which obtain 90% or more of revenue from the sale of tobacco and tobacco-related products). An initial public hearing on the St. Paul proposal was held on Nov. 19, 2015 and the hearing was extended to the St. Paul City Council meeting on Jan. 6, 2016.
On Nov. 19, the Kansas City, Missouri City Council voted to adopt an ordinance that (1) bans the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 and (2) allows any person 18 years old or older to possess and use tobacco products. This difference in the legal age for selling a tobacco product versus possessing and using a tobacco product is the actual law as adopted by the Kansas City, Missouri City Council. This increase in the legal age to 21 will take effect in Kansas City in 10 days, which is Nov. 30, 2015.
The Kansas City, Mo. ordinance also requires that retailers post a sign on every display of tobacco products that reads it is a violation of law to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21. According to the Kansas City Clerk, retailers will need to print their own signs as the city will not provide signs to retailers.
The Wyandotte County Board of Commissioners also voted yesterday to adopt an ordinance that makes it illegal to sell cigarettes, electronic cigarettes or tobacco products to anyone person under the age of 21, but the ordinance specifically states that only persons under the age of 18 years old are not allowed to buy cigarettes, electronic cigarettes. Also, under Article VI, Subdivision (f) of t he ordinance, retailers in Wyandotte County must also post one sign in a conspicuous place in the store which states “BY LAW, CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS MAY BE SOLD ONLY TO PERSONS 21 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER.” Retailers will need to produce their own sign for posting in their store. The ordinance becomes effective upon publication in the Wyandotte Echo newspaper.
The Cleveland City Council held a public hearing on Nov. 16 to consider an ordinance that would prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products, except tobacco, menthol, mint and wintergreen green flavors. The ordinance would allow the sale of flavored tobacco products to continue in retail tobacco stores that are defined as stores which derive “more than 80% of gross revenue from the sale of cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental.” The Cleveland City Council may take a vote on the ordinance during the first week of December.