Baltimore, MD bans inexpensive single cigar sales..

January 15, 2009 - Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced a new city rule that inexpensive cigars must be sold in packets of five or more. Black & Mild is the most popular brand of cigars for smokers 12 and older. Nearly a quarter of 18- to 24-year-old blacks in the Baltimore smoke B&M cigars. Black&Mild Single Cigars..

Single cigars often cost as little as 50 cents at city corner stores, and people often empty them and refill them with marijuana.

The new regulation, which will go effect October 1, 2009 includes cigars that cost $2.50 each or less. After an initial warning, stores selling single cigars would get a $100 fine. The legislation would carry a $150 first-time fine for violators, according to the report. Dixon said she plans to introduce a bill in the City Council to require enforcement and tougher penalties for violating the legislation, which will be enforced by the health department.

The city's health commissioner, Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, proposed a draft of the regulation in May. He noted yesterday that the new rule makes cigar sales consistent with the regulations requiring cigarettes be sold in packs of 20. Sharfstein - “These cigars pose every bit of the risk that cigarettes do”. The city’s code authorizes the health commissioner to abate nuisances, which Dixon said is defined as “any health or safety hazard.”

A similar cigar ban has been approved in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Reference: City sets rule against individual cigar sales Cheap smokes would have to be sold by fives, to discourage kids... by Annie Linskey |, Baltimore Sun, 1/15/20090; Baltimore to ban sale of single, cheap cigars by Sara Michael, Baltimore Examiner Staff Writer 1/15/09.

Related news brief: John Middleton challenges ban on single cigar sales..; Canadian Cancer Society calls for federal ban on flavored cigars..