Amd SS1399-ee & 1399-ff, Pub Health L; amd S1607, Tax L
Increases civil penalties for illegal sales of tobacco products by retail to minors; provides for warnings, suspensions, permanent
revocations, public notice of violations, and suspensions and revocations of lottery sales licenses.
BILL NUMBER: S4896A
OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: This bill seeks to impose and
increase penalties on businesses which sell tobacco products to minors.
It will increase fines and affect the business' tobacco and lottery
licenses when violations occur.
OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 1 increases the penalty
first violation from one hundred dollars to three hundred dollars, but
not to exceed one thousand dollars, and increases the penalty for subse-
quent violations to a minimum of five hundred dollars but not to exceed
one thousand five hundred dollars. Additionally, a civil penalty of
twenty-five hundred dollars will be imposed if a dealer is caught sell-
ing while a license has been revoked. If dealers violate this article
two times their license will be suspended for six months. With three or
more violations the license is revoked. If the dealer violates this
article three or more times the license is revoked for one year. If the
dealer continues to sell tobacco under suspension the license will be
permanently revoked. In addition, the name and address of the violator
and the number of times he or she has violated the action will be
published in a general circulation newspaper in the locality where the
retailer is located.
Sections 2 and 3 deal with lottery licenses. If the dealer violates
this article and is under a second violation then the health commission-
er notifies the lottery division and the lottery license will be
suspended for six months. Under a third violation the lottery license
will be permanently revoked after notification of the lottery division
by the health commissioner.
Selling tobacco to young people is an especially
deplorable act. Those who would violate the law and sell tobacco to
children need to be penalized more harshly than present law allows. The
profits made by selling cigarettes to children far exceed the mere one
hundred dollar penalty for a violation. Strong disincentives to those
who sell tobacco products to young people are needed.
Young people who do not smoke are significantly less likely to take up
smoking as a result. By averting early addiction to tobacco, fewer
people will become adult smokers. Furthermore, the public health costs
of smoking are well documented. There will be significant savings to
taxpayers from having fewer children develop an addiction to tobacco.
Ultimately, the responsibility for purchasing tobacco lies with the
purchaser. However, this bill will make dealers think twice before
selling to a minor.
None to state. Increase in revenues from increased penalties.
This act shall take effect September 1, 1999.