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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Gansler Praises Passage of PACT Act

BALTIMORE, MD ( March 19, 2010) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today released a statement following Congress’ passage of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act:

“The PACT Act will enable states to more effectively protect their citizens from the economic and public health problems associated with Internet tobacco sales. These sales allow youth easy access to tobacco and cause states to lose significant revenues through tax avoidance. The PACT Act will provide needed federal support for Maryland’s ongoing efforts to halt those seeking to avoid paying cigarette taxes while at the same time keep cigarettes out of the hands of our youth. Maryland is one of only a few states which completely ban Internet sales of cigarettes and we expect the PACT Act to be extremely important in our efforts to strictly enforce that law.

“The Attorneys General have supported this legislation for seven years. The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) recently sent a letter signed by 51 Attorneys General to all the members of the US House of Representatives Senate strongly urging their support for bill. The State Attorneys General, working jointly through NAAG, are acutely aware of the increasing problems caused by illegal tobacco product sales over the Internet, by mail order and by other remote purchases. We applaud congressional efforts to correct these significant problems through comprehensive legislation look forward to the President’s signature on this important legislation.”

Of particular importance to the states are the provisions in the PACT Act that:

  • Designate cigarettes and smokeless tobacco as nonmailable and therefore undeliverable by the U.S. Postal Service;
  • Require Internet sellers of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products to comply with all state laws regarding the collection of state and local taxes on cigarettes and prohibit distribution of such products unless all applicable tobacco excise taxes have been collected and paid;
  • Require Internet sellers of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products to use a delivery method that allows for age verification, to help prevent easy access by youth to tobacco;
  • Grant states authority to enforce the Jenkins Act in federal court in addition to the states’ ability to bring enforcement actions in state court under state law;
  • Increase from a misdemeanor to a felony violations of the Jenkins Act.

A copy of the letter sent by the Attorneys General can be found on the NAAG website at:
http://www.naag.org/assets/files/pdf/signons/PACTFinal Final House Letter 031210.pdf

 

   

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