McHugh Bill Would Ban Cigarettes by Mail

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Leading postal reform booster Rep. John McHugh, R-NY, introduced legislation yesterday that would ban the delivery of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products by the U.S. Postal Service.

Cigarette delivery by mail lets tobacco buyers skirt state tobacco taxes and makes tobacco products available to minors, McHugh said. He promised to push for a speedy hearing on his proposed ban in the House Government Reform Committee, of which he is a senior member.

"State revenues are suffering to the tune of $1.4 billion in uncollected taxes, and our children are able to buy these products with ease," McHugh said in a statement. "The postal service hasn't stepped up to prevent this, so this bill will ensure that tobacco by mail is simply not an option."

Some states, including New York, ban the sale of cigarettes via mail order or the Internet, and also ban private carriers from delivering cigarettes. But states can't control the USPS, which is under federal control, so the state bans have a loophole, he said.

McHugh's legislation would change Title 39 of the U.S. Postal Code, banning the USPS from delivering cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, pipe tobacco and roll-your-own tobacco. The penalty for violations would be $100,000.

Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV marketing for DM News and To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting

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