October 8, 1999
Contact: Danny Brazell, (803) 898-5406
South Carolina Department of Revenue
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.