Tobacco Legislation Watch

See what’s happening state by state this winter
Photograph: Shutterstock

State tobacco-related legislative bills that have been introduced recently are listed below alphabetically by state:

Iowa: House Study Bill 184 requires any retailer that holds a permit for the retail sale of tobacco products or vapor products must permit members of the fire, police and health departments, along with city building inspectors, county sheriffs, members of the department of public safety and members of the department of revenue, to enter the premises without a warrant during business hours to inspect for any violations of provisions of law related to the retail sale of tobacco products.

Maine: House Bill 431 (LD662) specifies that a municipality may not adopt or enforce an ordinance that prohibits a licensed tobacco retailer from selling flavored tobacco products.

Rhode Island: Senate Bill 349 allows cities and towns to create ordinances to regulate the use and sales of cigarettes, other tobacco products and electronic nicotine delivery system.

Utah: Senate Bill 263 separates regulation of e-cigarettes and nicotine devices and liquids from alternative nicotine products and modifies the tax on e-cigarettes and nicotine devices and liquids from 56% of the wholesale price to 50% of the retail price effective Jan. 1, 2024.

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:

Arizona: Two similar bills died by missing a procedural deadline on Feb. 17: Senate Bill 1678 and House Bill 2747 would have required tobacco and e-cigarette retailers to obtain a license from the state Department of Health services and permitted local jurisdictions to further regulate tobacco products.

Hawaii: Senate Bill 1447, which permits counties to regulate tobacco products consistent with but more stringently than state law, passed Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection with an amendment on Feb. 21.

Indiana: Senate Bill 25, which relates to cigarette tax evasion, provides that if a person unlawfully transports cigarettes with an Indiana tax stamp, the person commits a felony (the felony class depends on the number of cigarettes involved). The bill passed the senate on Feb. 21. Senate Bill 419, which contains language to clarify the definition of a vapor product and to require an open system electronic cigarette retail dealer’s certificate, reported favorably from the Senate Committee on Tax and Fiscal Policy on Feb. 21.

Nebraska: Legislative Bill 584, which imposes an excise tax on vapor products at a rate of 5 cents per milliliter of consumable material, was considered in the Revenue Committee on Feb. 22. LB584 remains in the revenue committee. “Consumable material” is defined as any liquid solution or other material that is depleted as an electronic nicotine delivery system is used.

New Hampshire: House Bill 531, which changes the tax methodology for cigarettes/little cigars, all other tobacco product and electronic cigarettes to the following: The Commissioner of the Department of Revenue Administration shall annually set the tax rate for tobacco and nicotine products to be a maximum of the lowest rate charged for equivalent products in Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont…and a minimum of 8% below the lowest of such rates, failed to pass the House on Feb. 22.

South Carolina: Senate Bill 414, which prohibits political subdivisions from enacting any laws, ordinances or rules pertaining to ingredients, flavors or licensing of cigarettes, electronic smoking devices, e-liquid, vapor products, tobacco products or alternative nicotine products; and provides that such laws, ordinances and rules enacted by a political subdivision prior to Dec. 31, 2020, are not subject to the preemption imposed by this act, reported favorably from the Senate Committee on Medical Affairs on Feb. 16.

Vermont: Senate Bill 18, which bans the retail sale of flavored cigarettes, flavored other tobacco products (OTP), e-cigarettes and e-liquids (flavored includes menthol), was heard in the Senate Committee on Health and Welfare on Feb. 23.

Washington: House Bill 1497, which would have increased monetary penalties for sales of tobacco and vapor products to underage persons, failed in House Regulated Substances and Gaming Committee on Feb. 13.  Senate Bill 5239, which would have allowed the secretary of the Department of Health to restrict or prohibit the sales of flavored tobacco products, died by missing a procedural deadline on Feb. 17.

Thomas A. Briant is the executive director of NATO, a tobacco retailing association based in Lakeville, Minn. Reach him at

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