The federal Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act (PACT Act) goes into effect today, June 29, 2010.
PACT Act is set to regulate the sale of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco sold over the Internet or by mail order to consumers.
But, one provision of the PACT Act has caused some confusion, according to the National Association of Tobacco Outlets (NATO). The wording states that “any person who sells or transfers or ships cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or smokeless tobacco in interstate commerce” must register with the U.S. Attorney General.
While the PACT Act defines the word “person” as an individual, corporation, company, firm or partnership, this same provision also refers to the term “delivery seller”, which the PACT Act defines as a person who sells cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco or smokeless tobacco to a consumer, NATO reported in its newsletter.
Given the use of the terms “person” and “delivery seller” in the provision, it is unclear whether it requires every wholesaler that sells cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco and smokeless tobacco to anyone-including retailers, in another state-to register with the U.S. Attorney General, or if it requires that only Internet and mail order sellers that sell to consumers must register with the U.S. Attorney General.
Because of this confusion, last Thursday, NATO faxed a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms requesting clarification. The American Wholesale Marketers Association also sent a letter to the ATF requesting clarification.
NATO has obtained from the ATF an unofficial/unapproved copy of the registration form which indicates that any “person” who sells cigarettes, RYO tobacco or smokeless tobacco in interstate commerce needs to register with the U.S. Attorney General.
NATO told its members that sell cigarettes, RYO tobacco or smokeless tobacco into one or more other states that there are two options. One is to wait until clarification is issued as to which companies must register. Or, a company can register via mail by providing the following information on company letterhead: company name and trade name, if any; address of principal place of business and addresses of other business locations in any other states; telephone number for each business location; e-mail address; Web site address; and name, address and telephone number of the agent or agents in each place of business.
The information can be mailed to:
Attn: Alcohol & Tobacco Diversion Division
99 New York Avenue N.E., Suite 7-S-233
Washington, DC 20226