Horne: New State Law Limiting Internet Tobacco Sales Goes Into Effect Today

PHOENIX (Thursday, August 02, 2012) -- Legislation developed and supported by Attorney General Tom Horne putting strict limits on the internet sale of tobacco products in an effort to limit access to children goes into effect today, Thursday, August 2, 2012. 

Senate Bill 1280 prevents the sale in Arizona of tobacco products (except pipe tobacco and cigars) over the internet and through other non-face-to-face methods of sale, referred to as “delivery sales”. Only Arizona licensed tobacco distributors or retailers ordering from an Arizona licensed tobacco distributor may now purchase these products through these methods of sale. 

“Online sales of tobacco products are a major problem because no safeguards exist to ensure that children can’t buy them,” Horne said. “The harmful nature of tobacco is well-documented and state law needed this critical update to reflect the growing amount of internet sales of tobacco products and the danger this presents to children.” 

Agents of the Attorney General’s Office have discovered that many of the internet sellers are outside the United States and appear to be selling black market cigarettes, which are contraband and subject to seizure. For example, one undercover purchase from a website resulted in the receipt of Moldovan manufactured cigarettes not permitted for sale in the United States. 

Proceeds from these sales also help fund these criminal enterprises. And it is likely that these cigarettes are in violation of the ignition propensity laws that require cigarettes to burn in a manner that reduces the risk of fires. 

A violation of this law is a felony offense and offenders will be subject to civil and criminal penalties including fines, injunctive relief, fees and costs incurred by the state for prosecution.