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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2010
McKenna hails cigarette trafficking law as victory for kids’ health and taxpayers

PACT Act championed by attorneys general

OLYMPIA – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna applauded today President Obama’s signing of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, saying the new law will help keep tobacco out of kids’ hands and restrain tax evasion.

“Internet cigarette sales have enabled sellers to skirt tax and age verification laws, making it easier for kids to buy cigarettes and costing taxpayer-supported programs billions of dollars,” Attorney General Rob McKenna. “By banning the delivery of tobacco products through the mail, this law will snuff out a growing problem by shifting sales back to law-abiding retailers.”

The PACT Act toughens penalties for renegade businesses that use the U.S. Post Office to illegally ship tobacco products. Attorney General Rob McKenna, the Tobacco Committee Co-chair for the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), championed the measure by recruiting his fellow attorneys general to lobby for the bill’s passage.

The Washington State Attorney General’s Office won passage of similar state legislation in 2009. Senate Bill 5340 prohibits the shipment tobacco products purchased through the Internet or by mail to anyone other than licensed wholesalers or retailers.
State attorneys general and federal officials have kept an eye on interstate cigarette trafficking because it undercuts the public health principles of the landmark 1998 settlement with major tobacco companies – the Master Settlement Agreement – designed to lower tobacco use.

The PACT Act received unanimous Senate approval and little opposition in the U.S. House of Representatives. The new law will curb the estimated $223 million in tax revenue lost by Washington state each year. Cigarette trafficking will also be elevated from a misdemeanor offense to a felony crime.


MEDIA CONTACT:
Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager -- Seattle, (206) 464-6432, kalexander@atg.wa.gov

 

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