PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced that a law placing strict limits on the Internet sale of tobacco products to try to limit access to children went into effect on Thursday.
Senate Bill 1280, which was developed and supported by Horne, prevents the sale of tobacco products over the Internet and through other non-face-to-face sale methods such as delivery sales. Only licensed tobacco distributors or retailers in Arizona ordering from another Arizona distributor may purchase the products through such sale methods. Pipe tobacco and cigars are not included in the law.
"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."
Horne's office alleged that many Internet sellers outside the United States appeared to be selling black market cigarettes, which are subject to seizure because they qualify as contraband.
Sales from contraband cigarettes may also fund criminal enterprises.
Additionally, the cigarettes may be in violation of ignition propensity laws requiring cigarettes to burn in a certain way to reduce fire risk.
A violation of Senate Bill 1280 is a felony offense and offenders could be subject to criminal and civil penalties including injunctive relief, fines and attorney costs.