SC Department of Revenue
certain cigarettes banned



News Release
South Carolina Department of Revenue


October 8, 1999

Contact: Danny Brazell, (803) 898-5406


Certain cigarettes banned beginning in 2000

South Carolina stores which sell cigarettes have until December 31, 1999, to sell or dispose of "gray market cigarettes," which are prohibited by both federal and state law.

Gray market cigarettes are those that are not intended to be sold in the United States. The packages may be labeled AFor export only,@ AU.S. tax exempt,@ or AFor use outside U.S.@ Cigarette packages which do not comply with federal labeling and advertising requirements with regards to labels, warnings or other information also are considered gray market cigarettes.

South Carolina law does not permit retailers to sell gray market cigarettes after December 31 even if they were obtained before that date. Retailers who may be considering stockpiling or building their inventory of gray market cigarettes should be aware of this state law.

Anyone who sells or distributes cigarettes in violation of state law may be sentenced to a maximum three years in jail and a $1,000 fine. Law enforcement officers may seize and destroy any illegal cigarettes or may sell the cigarettes to the manufacturer to be exported outside the United States.

Store owners should examine all cigarette packs and cartons to ensure that no illegal cigarettes are on hand on January 1, 2000.

This law was passed this year by the state legislature in accordance with the settlement between several states and participating tobacco manufacturers.

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