A county public health director and a public health nurse asked the Network for assistance updating a county tobacco retail ordinance to reflect changes to a statewide tobacco control law. The Network consulted an expert on tobacco control working with the Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law. All involved parties held a conference call to discuss the pertinent issues, which included how “tobacco products” are defined under the new state law and the regulation of other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. The meeting helped prepare the public health director to discuss with the board of health the required and optional changes to the county’s ordinances under the new state law. The board elected to expand the definition of tobacco products and to increase the fines for violations.
Several months later, following a public hearing regarding the proposed changes to the county ordinance, the public health director contacted the Network again about a question that arose at the hearing. The question was about the county's options to address the sale of pipes and ashtrays at antique shops and flea markets for historical purposes. The public health director asked for help reviewing a proposed exception in the ordinance for the sale of tobacco-related devices for historical purposes that are not sold in combination with other tobacco products. The legal expert noted that the applicable law in the requestor’s state defined “tobacco-related devices” as “cigarette papers or pipes for smoking” (emphasis added). Thus the expert agreed that the exception was likely compliant with the state law, because it intended to create an exception for products sold “for historical purposes,” and not “for smoking.”
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