SLATI Overview Data
This overview summarizes state tobacco control laws in effect in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the different areas covered by State Legislated Actions on Tobacco Issues (SLATI) as of March 1, 2013.
A. Restrictions on Smoking in Public Places and Workplaces
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws/policies restricting or prohibiting smoking in certain places.
* 28 states - Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin - and the District of Columbia prohibit smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including restaurants and bars.
* New Hampshire and North Carolina prohibit smoking in some public places, including all restaurants and bars.
* Four states - Florida, Idaho, Indiana and Louisiana - prohibit smoking in most public places and workplaces, including restaurants, but exempt stand-alone bars;
* 16 states prohibit smoking in some, but not all public places and workplaces and/or limit smoking indoors to designated areas or rooms.
In addition, 12 states partially or totally prevent (preempt) local communities from passing laws/ordinances restricting smoking stronger than state law.
B. Tobacco Excise Taxes
Taxes on Cigarettes:
All 50 states and the District of Columbia impose an excise tax on cigarettes. These taxes range from a high of $4.35 per pack in New York to a low of $0.17 per pack in Missouri. The national average for state cigarette excise taxes (as of January 1, 2013) is $1.49 per pack.
* Illinois is the only state that has increased its tax on cigarettes in 2011 so far.
* 2 states - Connecticut and Vermont - increased their tax on cigarettes in 2011; New Hampshire decreased its cigarette tax by 10 cents per pack.
Taxes on Tobacco Products Other Than Cigarettes:
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have excise taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes. Pennsylvania is the only state that does not impose a tax on other tobacco products (except little cigars are taxed at the same rate as cigarettes).
* In 30 states, the excise tax is calculated as a percentage of the wholesale sales price to retailers, the manufacturer's invoice price or the price at which the tobacco entered the state.
* 19 states - Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming - and the District of Columbia tax some or all tobacco products by the weight of the tobacco package.
C. Tobacco Sales/Youth Access Laws
Age Restrictions on Sales of Tobacco Products:
Federal regulations prohibit the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (but not cigars or other tobacco products) to persons under age 18. Retailers are required to verify a person's age by photographic identification containing the person's date of birth unless the person is over 26 years of age.
In addition, all 50 states and the District of Columbia prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors. Most states define minors as persons less than 18 years of age; however, four states - Alabama, Alaska, New Jersey and Utah - define minors as persons less than 19 years of age. Also:
* 39 states and the District of Columbia require retailers to post signs at or near the point of purchase stating that selling tobacco products to minors is illegal.
* 20 states and the District of Columbia require a person/retail store selling tobacco products to check the identification of a purchaser who appears to be under a certain age.
Minor Purchase/Possession/Use of Tobacco Products:
Forty-five states and the District of Columbia penalize minors for tobacco sales-related offenses. Of these states, 38 states and the District of Columbia prohibit minors from possessing and/or using tobacco products. Penalties for violation often include a fine and/or alternative penalties like performing community service, attending smoking education/cessation programs and/or suspension of a driver's license or learner's permit.
Note: Penalizing children has not been proven to be an effective technique to reduce underage tobacco usage. In fact, penalties may adversely affect existing programs that are proven to be effective and are required, such as compliance checks utilizing young people.
Placement of Tobacco Products:
Federal regulations require retailers to sell cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (but not cigars and other tobacco products) only in a direct, face-to-face exchange between the retailer and consumer. This means self-service displays of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are prohibited except in facilities where the retailer ensures that no person younger than 18 is permitted to enter at any time.
In addition, 27 states - Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming - and the District of Columbia have state laws restricting customer access to cigarettes and/or tobacco products in retail stores.
* Sixteen of these states - Alabama, Alaska, California, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming - completely prohibit customers from having direct access to all tobacco products in retail stores, and/or have language prohibiting the use of self-service displays.
State Preemption of Local Laws:
Eighteen states partially or totally prevent (preempt) local communities from passing stronger local laws/ordinances concerning the youth access laws discussed above. In the case of three additional states - California, Massachusetts and Missouri - limited preemption exists for small areas of their youth access laws.
D. Restrictions on Distribution of Tobacco Product Samples and Minimum Sales Amounts for Tobacco Products
Tobacco Product Samples:
Federal regulations prohibit free samples of cigarettes and limit free samples of smokeless tobacco products to certain age-restricted venues under several conditions.
In addition, 23 states and the District of Columbia have laws restricting where free samples of tobacco products can be distributed to the general public or virtually prohibit the free distribution of tobacco products entirely.
* Minnesota and Massachusetts prohibit the sampling of tobacco products entirely except for single-serving samples distributed in tobacco stores.
* Nebraska prohibits samples, coupons and rebate offers for smokeless tobacco products.
* Oregon prohibits sampling of smokeless tobacco products in places/areas where persons under 21 are allowed to enter.
* Texas prohibits the redemption of coupons, sample cigarettes and tobacco products through the mail or courier delivery.
* 6 states - California, Connecticut, New York, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin - and the District of Columbia prohibit giving away samples except in specific locations such as places inaccessible to minors, and/or in a manufacturer's place of business.
* 4 states - Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois and New Hampshire - prohibit giving away samples of tobacco products in many public places.
* The remaining 8 states restrict sampling to specific venues or within a certain distance of schools when minors are using them.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws prohibiting the distribution of tobacco products to minors.
Minimum Tobacco Product Sales Amounts:
Federal regulations prohibit manufacturers, distributors or retailers from selling or distributing any cigarette package that contains fewer than 20 cigarettes. Retailers are also prohibited from breaking or otherwise opening any cigarette or smokeless tobacco package to sell or distribute individual cigarettes or any quantity of cigarette tobacco or smokeless tobacco that is smaller than the smallest package distributed by the manufacturer for individual consumer use.
In addition, 31 states and the District of Columbia prohibit selling cigarettes in packs of less than 20 and/or as single cigarettes. Of those:
* 11 states - Alabama, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia - and the District of Columbia explicitly prohibit cigarette sales in packs of less than 20 and as single cigarettes.
* 13 states - Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, North Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Utah - prohibit cigarettes sales in packs of less than 20, but do not include language prohibiting sales of single cigarettes.
* 7 states - Arkansas, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania - prohibit sales of single cigarettes, but do not include language prohibiting cigarette sales in packs of less than 20.
In addition, among all 50 states and the District of Columbia:
* 25 states require cigarettes and sometimes other tobacco products to be sold in their original packaging as placed there by the manufacturer. Among these:
*7 states make all tobacco products subject to this requirement;
*4 states make some or most tobacco products subject to this requirement;
*14 states make only cigarettes subject to this requirement.
* 9 states prohibit sales of roll-your-own tobacco in an individual package or container that contains less than 0.6 ounces of tobacco.
State Preemption of Local Laws:
Eighteen states partially or totally prevent (preempt) local communities from passing stronger local laws/ordinances concerning sampling and minimum sales amounts of tobacco products. In the case of California, limited preemption exists concerning penalties for violation of certain state youth access laws.
E. Restrictions on Sales of Tobacco Products in Vending Machines
Federal regulations require retailers to sell cigarettes and smokeless tobacco (but not cigars and other tobacco products) only in a direct, face-to-face exchange between the retailer and consumer. This means sales from vending machines selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are prohibited except in facilities where the retailer ensures that no person younger than 18 is permitted to enter at any time.
In addition, 48 states and the District of Columbia have laws restricting the placement of tobacco product vending machines; only New Hampshire and New Jersey do not.
* Idaho and Vermont completely prohibit the sale of tobacco products through vending machines.
* 19 states prohibit tobacco vending machines everywhere except for bars, taverns and other places where minors are not permitted by law.
* Nevada prohibits vending machines except in public areas where people under 21 years of age are prohibited from loitering.
* 26 states and the District of Columbia otherwise restrict vending machine access or locations.
Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia require owners, operators and/or supervisors of tobacco product vending machines to post warning signs on the machines advising of age restrictions for purchase or sales.
Eighteen states partially or totally prevent (preempt) local communities from passing stronger local laws/ordinances concerning placement of and required sign posting on tobacco product vending machines. In the case of California, limited preemption exists concerning penalties for violation of certain state youth access laws.
F. Tobacco Product Sales Licensing Requirements
All 50 states and the District of Columbia require the licensing of certain entities that sell, distribute or manufacture tobacco products.
* 37 states and the District of Columbia require retailers that sell cigarettes to obtain a license/permit either from the state or the county/city where they do business and 30 states require the same of retailers of other tobacco products.
* All 50 states and the District of Columbia require distributors and/or wholesalers of cigarettes to obtain a state license/permit and 41 states require the same of distributors and/or wholesalers of other tobacco products. The requirement for other tobacco product wholesalers/distributors to obtain a license/permit in Georgia only applies to cigars and loose tobacco.
* Laws in 27 states and the District of Columbia include provisions that penalize a retailer who furnishes tobacco products to minors by a possible suspension or revocation of their license, generally after multiple offenses.
G. Smoking Protection Laws
Regrettably, 29 states and the District of Columbia have passed some form of smoker protection law that makes smokers a protected class legally, which does not allow businesses to make decisions about hiring, compensation, etc. based on an employees' use or non-use of tobacco products. The American Lung Association does not support elevating smokers to a protected class.
H. Advertising and Promotion
Eight states and the District of Columbia have some state restrictions on tobacco advertising and promotion. Some of these advertising restrictions may be part of state law but not enforced due to a 2001 Supreme Court decision striking down advertising restrictions in Massachusetts.
* Texas prohibits tobacco advertising within 1,000 feet of a church, public or private school and requires purchasers of tobacco advertising to pay a fee of 10 percent of the gross sales price of any tobacco advertising.
* California restricts tobacco advertising in all state-owned buildings and billboard advertising within 1,000 feet of any public school or playground.
* Kentucky prohibits tobacco billboard advertising within 500 feet of schools.
* Illinois, Michigan and West Virginia require health warnings to be posted on smokeless tobacco billboard advertising.
* Utah prohibits the display on any billboard, streetcar, sign, bus or placard of an advertisement for tobacco products, except that dealers in tobacco products may have a sign at their place of business indicating that they sell tobacco.
* Delaware prohibits advertising any tobacco products within 200 feet of any public or private school but does not prohibit the display of any message or advertisement opposing the use of tobacco products. In addition, any such message or advertisement may not contain the brand name of any tobacco product or the name of any tobacco company.
* The District of Columbia prohibits all tobacco advertising on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit System, which operates its bus and subway systems.
I. Tobacco Product Disclosure
Six states require tobacco product disclosure information. Requirements include:
* Massachusetts and Texas require tobacco manufacturers to disclose any added constituent of tobacco products other than tobacco, water and reconstituted tobacco sheet made wholly from tobacco.
* Massachusetts, Texas and Utah require disclosure of the nicotine yield for each brand of cigarettes.
* Minnesota and Utah require tobacco manufacturers to disclose any of the following substances in their unburned or burned states: ammonia or any compound of ammonia, arsenic, cadmium, formaldehyde and lead.
* New Hampshire requires its state Department of Health and Human Services to obtain from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health a list of additives for each brand of tobacco products sold.
* Connecticut required its Commissioner of Public Health to issue regulations concerning how the commissioner will obtain nicotine yield ratings for each brand of tobacco product.
J. Tobacco Divestment
Massachusetts passed a state law to prohibit new public pension funds from investing in stocks, securities or other obligations of any company that derives more than 15 percent of its revenue from the sale of tobacco products and requires divestment of existing investments.
In Minnesota, the Minnesota State Investment Board passed a resolution in 1998 requiring all equity managers to divest shares of any company which obtained more than 15 percent of its revenues from the manufacture of consumer tobacco products, which was accomplished by June 30, 2001.
K. Tobacco Liability
Thirty-five states have enacted legislation that places a cap on the bond required of a defendant to appeal lawsuit judgments that award money damages to plaintiffs. Of these states:
* 14 states apply these caps on appeal bonds to all lawsuit judgments.
* 14 states apply the caps only to lawsuit judgments involving companies that signed the Master
Settlement Agreement/separate state tobacco settlement.
* 3 states - Florida, Hawaii and Oklahoma - have separate laws/parts of laws applying a cap to both tobacco settlement signatories and all other parties.
* 4 states - Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky and Mississippi - apply these caps to the punitive damages portion of a lawsuit judgment only.
The amount of the cap on bonds to appeal lawsuit money judgments varies from state to state:
* 3 states - California, Minnesota and Oregon - have capped the appeal bond required at
* Alabama has set the limit at $125 million;
* 8 states - Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Washington and
Wisconsin - have set the limit at $100 million;
* Tennessee has set the limit at $75 million;
* 7 states - Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio and Rhode Island - have set the limit at $50 million.
* 11 states - Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma,
South Dakota, Texas and Virginia have imposed a limit of $25 million.
* Hawaii has set the limit at $150 million for Master Settlement Agreement signatories and $25 million for all other lawsuit judgments.
* West Virginia has set the limit at $100 million each for compensatory and punitive damages.
* Idaho has set the level at $1 million for punitive damages only, while a judgment in South
Carolina is automatically appealed.
Almost all of these laws include an exception for intentional dissipation of assets by the defendant.
No appeal bond is required to appeal a lawsuit judgment in five states - Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
L. Use of Settlement Dollars
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia receive annual payments from certain cigarette companies as part of the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), a lawsuit settlement signed in 1998 between Attorneys General in those states and the companies. Four states - Florida, Minnesota, Mississippi and Texas - settled their lawsuits separately with the cigarette companies prior to the MSA.
States account for and use the annual payments from the MSA in a variety of ways. Nineteen states - Alaska, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin - and the District of Columbia have set up arrangements to sell to specified entities all or part of their tobacco settlement revenue for a lump sum payment up front, which is also known as securitization.
* Securitization involves selling or pledging expected tobacco settlement payments to a state-created corporate entity for the purpose of issuing bonds backed by tobacco settlement funds. The state then receives a lump sum payment up front.
M. Fire Safety Standards for Cigarettes
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws in effect setting fire-safety standards for cigarettes to help prevent cigarette-caused fires. The fire safety standards in all these states are identical to the standard in the first state to implement this type of legislation, New York.
N. Tobacco Control Program Funding
Forty-eight states have allocated money from annual Master Settlement Agreement payments, tobacco excise tax revenues and/or general fund revenue to tobacco control and prevention programs and/or tobacco cessation coverage benefits under Medicaid in FY2012 (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 for most states).
* The amounts range from $58,693 for tobacco prevention and cessation programs in Missouri to $70 million in California.
* Nevada, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia are spending no new state/city money for tobacco prevention and cessation programs this fiscal year.
* In terms of a percentage of the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alaska ranks highest in its allocation of funds for tobacco prevention and cessation programs, and is the only state funding its tobacco prevention and cessation program at or above the CDC-recommended level.