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Keeping laws up with new tobacco

Published (5/13/2010)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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Minnesota’s laws are on the way to keeping up with new tobacco products.

From strips that melt in your mouth to orbs that look like Tic Tacs, users can get a nicotine bump anytime, anywhere and undetected. Supporters of new regulations fear these products could lure in a whole new generation of tobacco users.

Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. D. Scott Dibble (DFL-Mpls) sponsor the Tobacco Modernization and Compliance Act of 2010, signed into law May 10 by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. This will close the loophole on products that supporters say target younger generations.

Effective Aug. 1, 2010, the law expands the definition of tobacco products to include these new products and would regulate them as cigarettes and cigars. It will also apply to electronic cigarettes and candy- or fruit-flavored “little cigars” that are similar in size to cigarettes, but because of their design are not as regulated.

A penalty for sale and/or possession of the products is spelled out in the law. It will be a petty misdemeanor for those under the age of 18 to possess, purchase or attempt to purchase a product containing or delivering nicotine or lobelia intended for human consumption, or any part of such a product, that is not tobacco.

HF3467/ SF3055*/CH305

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