This content is intended to be objective and factual, and for general informational purposes only. It does not express the opinions of Swisher International or any other person or entity, and does not, is not intended to, and shall not be deemed to, constitute legal advice. Further, the content presented here is intended to reflect selected, recent legislative activity only, and is expressly not a comprehensive summary of past, present, or future legislative activity within any particular geographic area or with respect to any particular subject matter. No reader, user, or browser of this site should act or refrain from acting on the basis of information on this site without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. Only your individual attorney can provide assurances that the information contained herein – and your interpretation of it – is applicable or appropriate to your particular situation. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader, user, or browser and Swisher International, Inc. or its attorneys. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents of this site are hereby expressly disclaimed. The content on this site is provided “as is,” and no representations are made that the content is error-free.

Retailer Action Alert: Oppose U.S. House Bill H.R. 2339

The following is an update from the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO) sourced through their November 4th online bulletin with updated Excise Tax maps posted November 5th. Reposted with permission.

Bill Would Ban Flavored Products and Enact Other Tobacco Regulations

NATO retail members are urged to join the association’s effort to oppose H.R. 2339, a bill pending in the U.S. House of Representatives (a copy of H.R. 2339 accompanies this bulletin).  Taking action to oppose the bill is very simple and will only take a minute or two.  This bill, titled “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019,” has been assigned to the U.S. House Energy & Commerce Committee and could be voted on by the committee in the next week or two.  This is why taking action is time sensitive.

The main provisions in the legislation include the following restrictions and prohibitions:

  • Prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products including menthol cigarettes, flavored smokeless tobacco products, flavored cigars, flavored pipe tobacco, flavored hookah tobacco, and flavored vapor products.
  • Allows the sale of tobacco products only through face-to-face sales transactions.
  • Implements color graphic warning labels for cigarettes and cigarette advertisements.
  • Extends advertising restrictions to all tobacco products.
  • Raises the legal purchase age for tobacco products to 21.
  • Increases the user fees paid by manufacturers to the FDA to enforce the law.

The scope of H.R. 2339 is very broad and would have a significant negative impact on the entire tobacco industry, including retailers that sell tobacco products.

To take action, NATO is providing two pre-drafted letters that retailers and their legal age customers can send to their specific U.S. Representative urging their representative to oppose H.R. 2339.  To send a letter, please follow these simple steps:

Retailer Letter 

  1. Click on this link: http://www.congressweb.com/NATO/577/
  2. In the appropriate boxes, fill in your first and last name, e-mail address, phone number, street address, city, state and zip code (all of this information is needed to match you to your specific U.S. Representative and for your U.S. Representative to send you a reply).
  3. Make any changes to the text of the letter that you deem appropriate.  The pre-drafted letter is an editable version which you can add or remove text.
  4. Click the “Send” button.
  5. Your letter will automatically be sent to your specific U.S. Representative and your name will be automatically filled in at the bottom of the letter.

Consumer Letter

  1. Click on this link:http://www.congressweb.com/NATO/578/
  2. In the appropriate boxes, fill in your first and last name, e-mail address, phone number, street address, city, state and zip code (all of this information is needed to match you to your specific U.S. Representative and for your U.S. Representative to send you a reply).
  3. Make any changes to the text of the letter that you deem appropriate.  The pre-drafted letter is an editable version which you can add or remove text.
  4. Click the “Send” button.
  5. The letter will automatically be sent to your customer’s specific U.S. Representative and your customer’s name will be automatically filled in at the bottom of the letter.

Your help and the help of your employees and customers is most appreciated in opposing H.R. 2339.  Thank you in advance for your engagement in this effort.

Updated State Excise Tax Maps

Accompanying this NATO News Bulletin are seven state excise tax maps for chewing tobacco, large cigar, little cigar, smoking/RYO tobacco, moist snuff, cigarettes, and vapor products.  These maps are an excellent reference resource on state excise tax rates.  A special note of appreciation to the Tobacco Merchants Association for providing the excise tax maps.

State Legislative Bill Introductions

State tobacco-related legislative bills that have been introduced in the past week are listed below alphabetically by state:

Michigan: House Bill 5161 prohibits the sale of all vapor products containing Vitamin E Acetate.

New York:  Senate Bill 6809 prohibits the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco products (includes menthol) and accessories.  Assembly Bill 8663 provides that each electronic cigarette or vapor product manufacturer shall submit a list of all ingredients added by the manufacturer to a vapor product and requires a list of ingredients of  such electronic cigarette or vapor product be on the product packaging.

Pennsylvania:  House Bill 1994 prohibits the sale of flavored vapor products (includes menthol), requires labeling for vapor products (including ingredients), and provides for preemption. 

State Legislative Bill Actions

State tobacco-related legislative bills that have been acted on by a state legislative committee or state legislature are listed below alphabetically by state:

Illinois: House Bill 3883, which prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco and vapor products, including menthol cigarettes, was considered in a hearing in the House Human Services Committee on October 28, 2019.  Senate Bill 668, which was amended earlier this week and now prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, is awaiting a third reading in the Senate as of October 31, 2019.  Senate Bill 1864, which prohibits the use of vapor products where smoking is already prohibited, passed the Senate on October 29, 2019.

Pennsylvania:  Senate Bill 473, which raises the legal sales age from 18 to 21 for tobacco and vapor products, passed the Senate on September 25, 2019 and was referred to the House Human Services Committee on October 29, 2019.