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Tobacco and E-Cig Bill Advances in Key House Subcommittee

 

This week, the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee approved, H.R. 2339, the “Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act of 2019,” by voice vote which will now be send to the full House Energy and Commerce for consideration.

Recently, the PMAA Convenience Store Committee held a call to discuss provisions of H.R. 2339 which is sponsored by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). The PMAA Cstore Committee decided to oppose the provision in H.R. 2339 that seeks to ban menthol cigarettes. NACS, SIGMA and PMAA are concerned that a ban on menthol cigarettes will promote a black market. Unfortunately, bill sponsors approved the bill as is.

The bill proposes several things including:

  • Raising the minimum age of purchase to 21 (PMAA is neutral on this issue and has left it up to each state to decide their position)
  • Banning all non-face-to-face sales of all tobacco products including delivery sales.
  • Prohibiting flavoring of tobacco products (includes menthol cigarettes, flavored cigars, and flavored chewing tobacco)
  • Make it unlawful to market, advertise or promote any e-cigarette product to individuals under the age of 21. This would include requiring manufacturers of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to be held to the same advertising and sales requirements currently applied to the sale, distribution, and use of traditional cigarettes.
  • Increasing user fees (FDA will have the authority to collect user fees from all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. It also increases the total amount of user fees collected each year by $100 million)

The bill has a good chance to pass the House but faces an uphill battle in the Senate which is not likely to consider the bill this Congress.

Meanwhile, as previously reported by PMAA, the House passed H.R. 3942, known as the “Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act.” The bipartisan bill would prohibit online sales of e-cigarettes to minors by applying the same safeguards already in place for regular cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products.

The bill now goes to the Senate where its companion legislation, S. 1253, will be voted on. The Senate companion bill was introduced earlier this year by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The bill amends the “Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act)” to also include e-cigarettes in the definition that already includes cigarettes. Specifically, the bill would require online retailers of e-cigarettes to:

  • Verify the age of customers for all purchases.
  • Require an adult with ID to be present for delivery.
  • Label shipping packages to show they contain tobacco products.
  • Comply with all state and local tobacco tax requirements.

PMAA fully supports this bill. PMAA asks that you remind your Senators to cosponsor this important legislation. Click here to do so.

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