Agenda Item 7C
Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Action: Bill 41-15, Health - Distribution of Tobacco Products to Minors -
Health and Human Sen'ices Committee recommendation (3-0): enact the Bill as introduced.
Bill 41-15, Health - Distribution of Tobacco Products to Minors - Penalties, sponsored by
Lead Sponsor Councilmember Rice and Co-Sponsors Council President Leventhal, Council Vice
President Floreen, and Councilmembers Eirich, Navarro, Hucker, Katz, Riemer, and Berliner was
introduced on September 29, 2015. A public hearing was held on October 20 and a Health and
Human Services Committee worksession was held on November 5.
Distributing a tobacco product to a minor already violates County law. The current
maximum penalty is a Class A civil violation, punishable by a fme of $500 for a first offense and
$750 for a subsequent offense. Md. Local Gov't Code, §10-202(b) authorizes the County to
enforce a County law by a civil fine not exceeding $1000. Bill 41-15 would increase the maximum
civil fine for distributing a tobacco product to a minor to $1000 for a first offense and $1000 for a
Distributing a tobacco product to a minor is also a misdemeanor under Md. Criminal Law
Code, § 10-107, punishable by a fine of $300 for a first offense, $1000 for a second offense, and
$3000 for each subsequent offense within 2 years after the preceding offense.
official would have the option of citing a violator under the State Criminal Law or under the
The County Attorney's Office issued a bill review memorandum raising a potential State
implied preemption issue for the existing County law prohibiting the distribution of tobacco, but
ultimately concluded that the Bill is probably not preempted by State law. See ©5-7. Council
staff agrees with this conclusion.
There were no speakers at the October 20 public hearing.