Tobacco FAQs


Can the Attorney General's Office represent me in a private lawsuit against a tobacco company?

No. By law, the Attorney General's Office provides legal opinions only to elected and appointed state officials, represents state agencies in actions in courts of law, and enforces those state laws as delegated by the Legislature. The Attorney General's Office is prohibited from offering legal advice to private citizens or organizations.

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Is smokeless tobacco (i.e. snuff, chew) part of the tobacco settlement with tobacco product manufacturers?

Smokeless tobacco is not part of the Master Settlement Agreement. The Master Settlement Agreement only relates to cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco. There is, however, a separate Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement that applies to manufacturers of smokeless tobacco products.

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Where does the tobacco settlement money go when it is received by the state and how is it used?

The Legislature has provided that Idaho's tobacco settlement proceeds be deposited into an interest-earning account known as the Idaho Millennium Fund. Each year five percent of the average monthly market value of the Idaho Millennium Fund is deposited into the Idaho Millennium Income Fund. The Legislature allocates money from the Idaho Millennium Income Fund. These funds are normally used to address indigent health care, substance abuse treatment, tobacco cessation programs, and public health education.

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When do the tobacco settlement payments end?

Never. In the Master Settlement Agreement, the participating manufacturers agreed to make payments in perpetuity.

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Is it illegal in Idaho to purchase tobacco over the Internet?

No. However, when you buy tobacco products (other than cigarettes) over the Internet, over the phone, or from mail-order catalogs, you are generally not charged Idaho tax. In that case, you owe both use tax and tobacco tax.

Cigarettes bought over the Internet, over the phone, or from mail-order catalogs generally don’t have Idaho tax stamps on the bottom of the packages and are considered unstamped. The penalty for having, buying, or using more than 10 packs of unstamped cigarettes is three times the cigarette tax due for each full or partial pack. The minimum penalty is $50.

If you have any questions in this regard, please contact the Idaho State Tax Commission at (208) 334–7660.

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What are the restrictions that participating manufacturers agreed to in the Master Settlement Agreement?

The Master Settlement Agreement:

Prohibits Youth Targeting

  • Prohibits targeting youth in advertising, promotions, or marketing.
  • Bans industry actions aimed at initiating, maintaining or increasing youth smoking.

Bans Cartoon Characters

  • Bans use of cartoons in the advertising, promotion, packaging or labeling of tobacco products.

Restricts Sponsorships By Brand Names

  • Limits tobacco companies to only one brand name sponsorship per year.
  • Prohibits brand name sponsorship of events with a significant youth audience.
  • Prohibits sponsorship of team sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey or soccer).
  • Prohibits sponsorship of events where any of the paid participants or contestants are underage.
  • Allows corporate sponsorship of athletic, musical, cultural, artistic or social events as long as the corporate name does not include the brand name of a domestic tobacco product.
  • Bans tobacco brand names for stadiums and arenas.
  • Limits outdoor advertising for sponsored events to the site of the event.

Bans Outdoor Advertising

  • Bans all outdoor advertising, including: billboards, signs and placards in arenas, stadiums, shopping malls, and video game arcades.
  • Limits advertising outside retail establishments to 14 square feet.

Bans Placement of Tobacco Products

  • Bans payments to promote tobacco products in movies, television shows, theater productions or live performances, live or recorded music performances, videos and video games.

Bans Sale of Merchandise With Tobacco Brand Names

  • Bans distribution and sale of apparel and merchandise with brand-name logos (caps, T–shirts, backpacks, etc.).

Bans Youth Access To Free Samples

  • Free samples cannot be distributed except in a facility or enclosed area where the operator ensures no underage person is present.

Bans Gifts To Underage Persons Based on Proof of Purchase

  • Bans gifts without proof of age (legible driver's license certified to be valid by the gift recipient).
  • Prohibits Third Parties From Using Tobacco Brand Names
  • Tobacco companies are prohibited from authorizing third parties to use or advertise brand names in any way prohibited by the agreement.

Bans Non-Tobacco Brand Names

  • Bans future cigarette brands from being named after recognized non-tobacco brand or trade names (such as Harley Davidson, Yves Saint Laurent, Cartier) or nationally recognized sports teams, entertainment groups or individual celebrities.

Stops Misrepresentations Concerning Health Consequences Of Smoking

  • Prohibits the industry from making any material misrepresentations regarding the health consequences of smoking.

The Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement contains similar restrictions.

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How can I, as a citizen, assist in the enforcement of the Master Settlement Agreement and Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement?

If you have evidence of a possible violation of either the Master Settlement Agreement or Smokeless Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, contact the Office of the Attorney General at (208) 334–2424. Any physical evidence of the possible violation (i.e. a pack of cigarettes, a picture of a billboard, etc.) would be helpful in determining the extent of the violation.

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Where can I find more information about tobacco-related issues?

The following organizations can assist with general education regarding tobacco issues:

For more information contact:

Office of the Attorney General
Consumer Protection Division
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720-0010
Attention: Tobacco Enforcement
(208) 334-2424

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Master Settlement Information Tobacco Product Manufacturers and Idaho Stamping Agents Information Tobacco Product Manufacturers and Idaho Stamping Agents Information Idaho Cigarette Rolling Machine Operator Information Directory of Compliant Tobacco Product Manufacturers and Brand Families