Several States Face Possible Tobacco Changes
All kinds of news is circulating in the smoking world as of late. A recent bill that was proposed in Florida that would allow counties to pass their own smoking bans on public spaces will likely not be passed. In the Northeast, Massachusetts is considering a tobacco tax increase that could have a major impact on premium cigars.
The bill in Florida, HB 439, apparently never made it past the House Quality Subcommittee, a group that is not scheduled to meet again until next year. Public smoking in parks and beaches will still be legal until the issue is addressed again.
Back in January Sarasota County Judge, Maryann Boehm, found local smoking bans that were passed in several Florida counties were legally invalid. Cigar Rights of America executive director, Glynn Loope, is pleased to hear the news.
“Florida is the foundation of the American cigar experience, with over 200 retail tobacconists, over 45 corporate headquarters, the Port of Miami, cigar support services, distribution channels and tens of thousands of cigar enthusiasts within the state of Florida, the thought of enforcing outdoor smoking restrictions is simply unacceptable,” Loope told Cigar Aficionado.
As far as Massachusetts goes House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray are proposing an across the board increase on all tobacco products sold in the state of Massachusetts. Cigars and smoking tobacco would go from 30% of the wholesale price to 40%. Both Cigar Rights of America and the Cigar Association of America are asking premium cigar retailers and customers in the state to contact their elected officials to oppose the tax proposal.