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Congress Looks at Higher Tobacco Taxes, Sales Methods

A new bill introduced in Congress would drastically change the U.S. federal government’s laws regarding tobacco products, most notably, banning the sale of cigars online and through catalogs.

H.R. 293 is described as the Youth Vaping Prevention Act of 2019, but in reality it will affect every single tobacco product sold in America.

For cigar smokers, the most notable change will be modifying the Jenkins Act, the main piece of law regarding the sale of cigarettes, to remove an exemption that allows for cigars and other tobacco products to be mailed to consumers. H.R. 293 would also ban the sale of e-cigarettes across states lines.

Most flavored tobacco products would be prohibited under the new law.  The bill would add a restriction that meant that any tobacco product could not have an additive or any “artificial or natural flavor (other than tobacco) or an herb or spice.” That list includes menthol, albeit menthol cigarettes would remain exempt. An exception is made for an “electronic nicotine delivery system” that is approved as a tobacco cessation device.

In addition, the bill would increase the taxes for cigars, cigarettes and other tobacco products, as well as create a tax structure for e-cigarettes.