State Regulation of the Tobacco Industry

A host of regulatory issues can make it challenging for cigarettes and other tobacco products to be sold legally in a state. The Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), in which all but four states participate, limits what cigarettes can be sold in a state by requiring an application for and approval of directory listing, prior to legal sale of the product.

The tobacco industry changed forever after the states and four original participating manufacturers signed the MSA in 1998. As a result, tobacco manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and brand owners face a host of regulatory hurdles that impact their business operations.

In addition to this threshold, states have the ability to levy their own taxes, regulations, and restrictions on cigarettes as well as other tobacco products that vary widely from state to state.

Our attorneys specialize in determining methodologies to remain compliant with state laws and regulations, including assistance with:

  • MSA Compliance, such as:
    • Initial directory listing applications
    • Annual directory listing submissions required to maintain current listings
    • Quarterly escrow compliance certifications
    • Establishment of qualified escrow agreements
  • Advising on state regulations governing licenses and permits
  • Determining methodologies to remain compliant with state laws and regulations
  • Obtaining licenses or permits as required by a state in order to manufacture or distribute cigarettes or tobacco products
  • Taxation compliance

  • Counsel to several tobacco companies that have not signed the Master Settlement Agreement Representation of such companies in connection with MSA compliance issues, including negotiations with state regulators and litigation in state and federal courts.
  • Represented an entity in the purchase of a tobacco manufacturing business, including advice regarding associated federal and state regulatory issues.
  • Advise clients regarding regulatory issues associated with starting a tobacco manufacturing business.
More + Less -


Practice Highlights