F

Arkansas Grade Card

Population Covered: 3,017,804

Tobacco 21 Since: September 1, 2019

The Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation evaluated all current statewide Tobacco 21 laws for their alignment with best practices that lead to effective prevention of youth initiation of tobacco and nicotine products.

ENFORCEMENT
GRADE: F

Designated Enforcement Agency

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Best Practice:

Health Department or Designated Agency

Arkansas Enforcement:

The Arkansas Tobacco Control Board is the designated enforcement agency

Age Verification

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Best Practice:

Before distributing any tobacco product, the tobacco retailer or the tobacco retailer’s agent or employee shall verify that the purchaser is at least 21 years of age. Each tobacco retailer or tobacco retailer’s agent or employee shall examine the purchaser’s government-issued photographic identification if the purchaser appears to be under 30 years of age.

Arkansas Enforcement:

Arkansas does not require age verification for a certain appearance of age

Who is the Penalty Placed on?

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Best Practice:

The primary burden for sales to underage purchasers should fall on the retailer who is profiting from the sales of the product and not the purchaser or non-management employee.

Arkansas Enforcement:

Arkansas places the penalty on the retailer and clerk

Number of Compliance Checks

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Best Practice:

Provide authority for the state, county, or municipality to inspect tobacco retailers for compliance with MLSA 21 and a mandated minimum number of annual compliance checks. Model recommends two per year for every tobacco retail establishment.

Arkansas Enforcement:

Arkansas’s law does not specify number of compliance checks that must be conducted

Compliance Checks Done With Underage Decoys Aged 18-20

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Best Practice:

The designated agency shall conduct compliance checks by engaging persons between the ages of 18 and 20 to enter the tobacco retail establishment to attempt to purchase tobacco products.

Arkansas Enforcement:

Age of decoy not specified

LICENSING
GRADE: C

Statewide Tobacco Retail License

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Best Practice:

A comprehensive tobacco retail license allows states and municipalities to regulate all tobacco retailers, fund enforcement programs, and create a penalty structure that suspends or revokes a license for retailers that continue to violate a MLSA 21 law.

Arkansas Licensing:

Arkansas has a statewide comprehensive Tobacco Retail License

Tobacco Retail License Program Funds Enforcement

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Best Practice

The fee for a tobacco retail sales license shall be set and used to cover the administrative cost for licensing administration, education and training, retail inspections, and unannounced compliance checks. The tobacco retail sales license fee should not exceed the cost of the regulatory program authorized beyond the statute/ordinance.

Arkansas Licensing:

Arkansas’s Tobacco Retail License fee only partially covers enforcement

Tobacco Retail License Fee

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Best Practice:

An effective licensing system requires tobacco retailers to pay an annual license fee and allows it to be periodically adjusted. Fee must be adequate to cover License administration, education/training, and enforcement. An annual fee of lower than $300 is generally inadequate to fund a licensing program.

Arkansas Licensing:

Arkansas’s Tobacco Retail License fee is $50

PENALTIES
GRADE: B

Penalty Type

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Best Practice:

Establish a civil penalty structure for violations rather than a criminal penalty structure.

Arkansas Penalties:

Arkansas will place a criminal penalty on a person who violates the sales age

Violation Accrual Period

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Best Practice:

36 months

Arkansas Penalties:

Arkansas has a 48-month violation accrual period

Monetary Penalty and Suspension Structure

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Best Practice:

1st violation = $500
2nd violation = $750 and (7) day suspension
3rd violation = $1,000 and (30) day suspension
4th violation = $1000 and (3) year suspension

Arkansas Penalties:

Arkansas’s penalty schedule is:

1st violation = $250 fine
2nd violation = $500 fine with possible suspension of their license
3rd violation = $1,000 fine
4th violation and subsequent offences = $2,000 fine

Retail permit or license holders that sell tobacco products, vapor products, alternative nicotine products, e-liquid products or any components thereof to persons under age 21 shall be guilty of a violation and in addition to fines shall have their license or permit suspended for a period not to exceed two days for a second violation within a 48-month period, not to exceed seven days for a third violation within a 48-month period, and not to exceed 14 days for a fourth violation within a 48-month period. After five violations within a 48-month period, a license or permit may be revoked.

Does the Law Penalize Youth for Purchase, Use or Possession

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Best Practice:

An evidence-based, best practices tobacco MLSA 21 policy should focus penalties on the tobacco retailer who profits from the illegal sale rather than the youth who is likely addicted to the product. PUP laws may be unlikely to reduce youth smoking significantly.

Arkansas Penalties:

Arkansas penalizes underage youth for possessing. If caught, product may be confiscated and destroyed. If in possession while also violating another criminal statute, they may be subject to community service.

PREEMPTION
GRADE: F

Does Preemption exist, was it added, or expanded

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Best Practice:

Local governments have a critical role in reducing the deadly toll of tobacco by regulating sales and restricting youth access to these products to prevent use and addiction.

Tobacco 21 legislation should not introduce new tobacco control preemption, nor expand existing tobacco control preemption, and instead should be used as an opportunity to assert local authority or repeal existing tobacco control preemption.

Arkansas Preemption:

Preemption existed in Arkansas before the passage of their Tobacco 21 law and was expanded within the legislation that raised the minimum legal sales age to 21

DEFINITIONS
GRADE: A

Definitions

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Best Practice:

A comprehensive definition will cover all current, known tobacco and nicotine products, which include not only cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless tobacco, but also products like pipes, rolling papers, electronic smoking devices, and other related devices. A strong definition will also be broad enough to capture future products.

Arkansas Definitions:

Arkansas’s Tobacco 21 law includes comprehensive definitions