Recommendation 3: The federal government should substantially raise federal tobacco excise taxes, currently set at 39 cents a pack. Federal excise taxes should be indexed to inflation.
The committee finds that smoking restrictions serve three purposes: (1) they protect nonsmokers from the health effects and the noxious odors of secondhand smoke; (2) they help smokers quit, cut down on their smoking, and avoid relapses; and (3) they reinforce a nonsmoking social norm. Clean air laws have done more to reduce tobacco consumption than any intervention other than cigarette price increases. The committee believes that smoking restrictions are a critical part of any tobacco control strategy. Smoking restrictions should be strengthened and should have broad coverage, including nonresidential indoor locations, health care facilities, correctional facilities, and residential complexes. The committee also believes that local government bans on indoor and outdoor smoking should not be preempted by state laws.
Recommendation 4: States and localities should enact complete bans on smoking in all nonresidential indoor locations, including workplaces, malls, restaurants, and bars. States should not preempt local governments from enacting bans more restrictive than the state ban.
A reasonably enforced youth-access restriction is an essential element of modern tobacco control. Age verification, as contained in the 1996 FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Rule, as well as placing product displays behind the counter and banning self-service modes of access to tobacco work effectively to reduce youth access. Although a considerable number of states and localities currently license tobacco sales outlets and impose youth-access restrictions, weak enforcement in many states suggests that the potential deterrent threat of license suspension or revocation is not being realized.
Recommendation 11: All states should license retail sales outlets that sell tobacco products.
The number of Internet tobacco retailers has increased dramatically in recent years, generating concerns about minors accessing tobacco products and consumers evading excise tax payments. Given the inadequacy of current point-of-sale age verification for Internet transactions and the difficulty