Federal regulations are only slightly more predictable than those at the state and local level. Sure, there’s an official process the FDA must go through to enact a federal tobacco regulation. But it’s a process that takes years—compared with the mere days it sometimes takes for a local government to pass something. So the industry at least has an idea of what’s coming.

But there's rarely an idea of when those regulations will move from proposal to a final published rule. Take deeming: The industry spent months upon months waiting for final regulations to drop.

As 2018 begins, the tobacco industry at least has a decent idea of what regulatory actions could be on the horizon. The question is whether hot-button issues such as menthol, modified-risk approvals or smokeless-tobacco regulations will be resolved in 2018, in 2019 or years from now.

Here’s a look at what we know so far about those potential regulations, what—if anything—we know about the expected timing, and the effect such actions could have on the convenience-retailing industry.