House introduces tighter rules

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, in order to crack down on contraband cigarette sales, the Associated Press reports.

The bill, which easily passed, 379-12, would impose shipping and record-keeping requirements on those selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco over the phone or through the mail or Internet, and make failure to comply with state tax laws a felony. It is currently a misdemeanour.
It would also require Internet and other remote sellers to verify a purchaser's age and identity to cut down on sales to minors. Delivery of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through the U.S. Postal Service would be ended.
Illegal trafficking is an outgrowth of the wide variance in state excise tax rates on cigarettes which encourages smuggling from states with low taxes to states with high taxes.
The legislation also requires cigarette sellers to keep their records for four years. The Justice Department is authorised to compile a list of delivery sellers who fail to comply with these requirements or state tax laws. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is given new authority to inspect the records and inventories of cigarette shippers. (pi)

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