The National Local Advocacy Alliance (NLAA) works tirelessly to provide the necessary resources to inform consumers and business owners across the country about local government regulations on the sale of tobacco products. Business and consumer advocates working against burdensome local regulations are the most effective protection against local government overreach. Click on the fact sheet icon below for a Fact Sheet about the various kinds of local tobacco restrictions.
In order to best equip advocates against local government ordinances, the NLAA has provided the background fact sheets listed below as a resource. The information in these fact sheets can be copied and pasted into a Take Action e-mail message that you can send to your local elected officials.
If you need additional information or support in your advocacy efforts, please contact the NLAA below.
Local governments across the nation are discussing burdensome regulations that will negatively impact local businesses. In order to best equip advocates against local government overreach, the NLAA has provided the below issue background fact sheets as a resource.
Raising awareness to other likeminded advocates is just one way to help prevent government overreach. Please share the below issue fact sheets and your personal experiences in preventing burdensome regulations with other interested advocates to spread awareness of issues that many communities are facing.
Banning the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
A ban on flavored tobacco products prevents retailers from selling products that have a “characterizing flavor.” Some flavor bans exempt tobacco, menthol, mint, or wintergreen flavors. Other proposals prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes, as well as mint and wintergreen smokeless tobacco products.
Flavored tobacco bans are often suggested as a way to reduce illegal underage usage or access to products, but flavor bans do not reduce or eliminate overall sales of products to legal-age adults. They simply drive legal purchases to neighboring cities, online, or to unpoliced, illicit markets.
Ultimately, flavor bans only hurt local businesses and drive business to neighboring communities.
Violations of a flavor ban may result in fines assessed to retailers and, for subsequent violations, may also include the suspension or revocation of the retailer’s license to sell cigarettes and tobacco products.
To learn more about efforts to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and arguments against such efforts, please reference the below fact sheet.
Local Cigarette and Tobacco Taxes
In some states, local governments have been granted the authority by the state legislature to impose local cigarette or tobacco taxes on the retail sale of tobacco products.
Often, the purpose of these taxes is to raise revenue for various spending initiatives and projects, and they are introduced to promote public health.
However, if the tax discourages adult consumers from switching from the most harmful to significantly less harmful alternatives, local tobacco taxes are actually detrimental to the public health.
With tobacco stores dependent on the sales of their products for virtually all of their profits, and with convenience stores relying on tobacco for nearly 40 percent of in-store sales, a downturn in cigarette and tobacco sales would result in employee layoffs and store closures.
High local taxes on cigarettes and tobacco create an anti-business environment in communities. These regulations serve as a disincentive to business expansion and new locations opening in your towns, cities, or counties.
To learn more about efforts to introduce local cigarette and tobacco taxes and arguments against such efforts, please reference the below fact sheet.
Restricting the Quantity of Tobacco Licenses and Locations
Some local governments have proposed limiting the number of, and ultimately reducing the quantity of, tobacco retail licenses in a jurisdiction by requiring stores to be a certain distance from schools, playgrounds, churches, and other locations minors visit often.
The rationale for limiting or reducing the number of retail licenses is to decrease overall consumption or availability of tobacco products to underage youth.
Restricting the number of licenses or locations will not limit illegal, underage access. Rather, limiting the number of retail tobacco licenses or preventing retailers from making substantial improvements in order to renew licenses puts local business owners at a disadvantage.
Most local retailers provide goods and services beyond tobacco products. Potentially putting them out of business will not only result in lost jobs and revenue to government, but also reduce outlets that serve food, beverages, medicines, household and other items in neighborhoods as well.
To learn more about efforts to restrict the quantity of tobacco licenses and locations and arguments against such efforts, please reference the below fact sheet.
Promotional Price Ban
A prohibition on tobacco product promotional price bans precludes retailers from offering legal tobacco products at manufacturer-sponsored, short-term lower prices. These promotional prices are set by manufacturers and should be allowed in a free market economy. In effect, the bans are a means to keep the prices of tobacco products higher which burdens adult consumers who would like the opportunity to take advantage of the lower priced products.
Restrictions on Single Cigars and Cigar Package Size
Laws or regulations requiring cigars to be sold in packages of four or more and at an arbitrary minimum price have been adopted, or are being considered, by a number of local and state legislative bodies. Tobacco control interests claim that imposing such restrictions will reduce access to tobacco products by minors.
These laws and regulations appear to be more about banning the sale of legal flavored cigar products than illegal youth access to tobacco products. Therefore, prohibiting the sale of certain single cigars and cigars in packages of less than four imposes economic hardship on legitimate retailers without addressing the problem.
Restricting the sale of single cigars or requiring package sizes be a minimum of four or six cigars is a solution in search of a problem. This is supported by national government surveys, which demonstrate that illegal youth usage of cigars is low.
To learn more about efforts to implement restrictions on single cigars and cigar package sizes and arguments against such efforts, please reference the below fact sheet.
Coupons for Tobacco Products
A ban on the acceptance and redemption of tobacco product coupons by retailers prevents legal age adults from utilizing coupons on their preferred tobacco products. Underage individuals rarely attempt to redeem a coupon on a tobacco product. Adults should have the same opportunity to redeem coupons for legal tobacco products as consumers do for virtually every other kind of product.
NLAA Relationship Building
One of the most important tasks that a retailer can undertake is to develop relationships with local lawmakers. Since localities license and regulate local businesses, it is very important for retailers to educate local city and council officials about their business, the importance of tobacco product sales to their business plan, and how they responsibly sell tobacco products. When local lawmakers understand why tobacco products are an important part of a retail store’s product mix and can be sold in a lawful and responsible manner, the reasons for imposing strict regulations and bans on these products are not supportable.