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Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement and Kentucky Tobacco Statutes

​ Notice to all Non-participating Manufacturers

Please be advised that HB 512 of 2015 was signed by Governor Steve Beshear on March 23, 2015 and includes numerous changes to the Kentucky Escrow and Directory statutes governing the certification of Non-Participating Manufacturers on the Kentucky tobacco directory of approved brands. This notice is intended to describe these changes and NPMs will need to comply with the new requirements to remain on the directory going forward.

Read the full notice here

Kentucky Nonparticipating Manufacturer Surety Bond

Kentucky Certification of Tobacco Product Manufacturers (96kb PDF)

The MSA was executed and became effective on November 23, 1998. Kentucky's share of payments from the settlement are estimated to be $3.45 billion over the first 25 years. In addition to annual payments to the states signing on, the MSA contains three main categories of restrictions: advertising restrictions, brand name restrictions, and give-away restrictions.

The advertising restrictions in the MSA ban outdoor and transit advertising of tobacco products, any advertising targeted at youth (under 18 years of age), and any use of cartoons in advertising, promoting, packaging, or labeling tobacco products. There are two main exceptions to the outdoor and transit advertising prohibitions. First, manufacturers may advertise tobacco products on the property of retail establishments, subject to certain size restrictions. Additionally, the manufacturers may advertise tobacco products at adult only facilities or adult only events.

The brand name restrictions relate to the use of tobacco brand names in sponsorships, merchandise, and third party use. The manufacturers are prohibited from sponsoring by brand name the following types of events: concerts, events intended for a significant youth audience, events with paid youth participants or contestants, and football, basketball, baseball, soccer, or hockey leagues, teams, or games. The manufacturers will be permitted to engage in one brand name sponsored event in a twelve month period, as long as the sponsorship does not constitute a prohibited sponsorship as outlined above. Additionally, the manufacturers may sponsor brand name events in adult only facilities. With regard to merchandise, beginning July 1, 1999, the manufacturers are prohibited from distributing or selling apparel or merchandise with brand name logos. Finally, the manufacturers cannot authorize third parties to use or advertise brand names in a manner prohibited under the MSA. Notwithstanding these restrictions, the tobacco manufacturers may sponsor any athletic, musical, artistic, or other social or cultural event, entrant, participant, or team by its corporate name. The corporate name sponsored event cannot include any reference to a brand name tobacco product.

The give-away restrictions deal with free samples and proof of purchase gifts. Effective November 23, 1998, the manufacturers cannot distribute free samples, except in adult only facilities. Beginning November 23, 1999, the manufacturers can no longer provide proof of purchase gifts to underage persons (those persons younger than the legal age to purchase cigarettes). To comply with this provision, the manufacturers must require sufficient proof that a recipient of a proof of purchase gift is an adult.

Actual text of the MSA and amendments

Effective April 3, 2003, House Bill 390 became law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The provisions of this legislation amended and created new sections in Kentucky Revised Statutes Chapter 131 and are intended to ensure that only legally compliant cigarettes are sold in Kentucky.

Provisions of the new law include:

  • Annual certification to the Office of Attorney General by all tobacco product manufacturers, including a listing of cigarette brands.
  • Creation of a directory, including the names and brands of certified manufacturers which are in compliance with state law, to be published each July 1 on the Revenue Cabinet website.
  • Prohibition against a stamping agent or distributor from affixing a tax stamp to a cigarette package which is not included in the directory.
  • Penalties for violations, including injunctions against the stamping agent or distributor, seizure of cigarettes, loss of wholesaler license and payment of costs for legal actions.
  • Manufacturers may be required to submit packaging and labeling samples to the Commonwealth.
  • Appointment of registered agents for service of process.

A Kentucky certification form for tobacco product manufacturers is available here (35kb PDF). The certification must be completed and delivered to our office on or before April 30th.

The directory of compliant manufacturers is available on the Revenue Cabinet website and will be updated as necessary. If a manufacturer or brand is not found on the directory, tax stamps may not be placed on packages of those cigarettes. Please contact our office should you have any questions regarding the certification or directory.