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Frequently Asked Questions

TOBACCO/NICOTINE SALE PERMIT

1. How do I get a tobacco/nicotine sale permit? 

If you are planning to sell tobacco/nicotine products, please see our Obtaining a Tobacco Sales Permit page for complete details on the necessary steps required to attain a City of Boston Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products. New permit application forms must be submitted in person to the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. 

2. How do I renew my tobacco/nicotine sale permit? 

All tobacco sales permits expire yearly on December 31. It is the retailer’s responsibility to ensure that the permit is current. Renew your permit by following the steps on the Obtaining a Tobacco Sales Permit page. Permit renewals must be mailed to the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

3. Where is the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program located? 

The Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program is located at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, 2nd Floor Boston, MA 02118. You can also reach the program at tobaccocontrol@bphc.org or 617-534-4718. Please call to inform the program of your needs prior to physically visiting the location. 

4. Where is the Massachusetts Department of Revenue located?

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is located at 19 Stanford Street, Boston MA 02114-2504. You can also reach the program at 617-887-5090.

5. I only sell hookah, do I need a tobacco sales permit? 

Yes, you need a tobacco sales permit if you sell hookah. 

6. I only sell e-cigarettes; do I need a tobacco sale permit? 

Yes, you need a tobacco sales permit if you sell e-cigarettes. All nicotine delivery products, including e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine are included in the Youth Access Regulation’s definition of tobacco products.
 
7. I never received/lost my signs, how do I replace them? 

Please contact the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at tobaccocontrol@bphc.org or 617-534-4718 and we will mail them to you. 



FLAVORED TOBACCO AND NON-FLAVORED TOBACCO

1. What is the difference between flavored tobacco products and non-flavored tobacco products? Is there a list of items flavored tobacco items? 

Flavored tobacco products are those that have a distinguishable taste or aroma other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, menthol, mint or wintergreen. Flavored tobacco products typically have the taste and/or aroma of fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, desserts, alcoholic beverages, herbs or spices. The Flavored Tobacco Product List provides guidance on which products have been found to meet this definition. Note that Flavored Tobacco Product List​​ will be periodically updated. It is the tobacco retailer’s responsibility check the website for updates.

2. I have e-cigarette juice/liquid nicotine that contains 0% nicotine, can I sell it? 

Flavored liquid nicotine that contains 0% nicotine cannot be sold by retailers unless the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program has deemed the retailer as an adult-only retail tobacco store. 


ADULT-ONLY TOBACCO STORES

1. How can my store become an adult-only tobacco retail store?

Retailers seeking to be designated as an adult-only retail tobacco store must submit a letter of intent to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. This letter of intent addressed to the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program should include information demonstrating that:
  • Individuals under the age of 21 (including employees) will be prohibited from the establishment 
  • Revenue from tobacco/nicotine-delivery products and paraphernalia accounts for equal to or greater than 90% of annual revenue 
  • The establishment does not have a food, liquor, or restaurant license 
  • The establishment will be a stand-alone business and will not share space with another business

VIOLATIONS/PENALTIES

1. What are the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program’s minimum cigar package pricing requirements? 

You must follow the following cigar package pricing requirements if your business chooses to sell cigars in packages to ensure compliance and avoid receiving a citation:

  • A single cigar package must retail for more than $2.50, regardless of what is stated on the package
  • A two-cigar package must retail for more than $5.00, regardless of what is stated on the package 
  • A three-cigar package must retail for more than $7.50, regardless of what is stated on the package 
  • All cigar packages of four or more must retail for more than $2.50, regardless of what is stated on the package. 
  • See our minimum cigar pricing tip sheet​ for more information on cigar pricing.

These requirements apply to cigars, tip cigars, and cigarillos. 


2. What is the penalty for a violation of the Clean Air Works Workplace Regulation?

Citations for a violation of the Clean Air Works Work Place Regulation incur the following penalties: 
  • 1st violation: $200 
  • 2nd violation within 24 months: $700 
  • 3rd violation with 24 months: $1000

3. What is the penalty for a violation of the Youth Access Regulation? 

Citations for a violation of the Youth Access Regulation including sales of tobacco/nicotine delivery products to persons under the age of 21, cigar packaging, sale of flavored tobacco/nicotine-delivery products, and self-service displays incur the following penalties: 
  • 1st violation: $200 
  • 2nd violation within 24 months: $400 plus a 7-day permit suspension 
  • 3rd violation within 24 months: $600 plus a 30-day permit suspension 
  • 4th violation within 24 months: $800 plus a 60-day permit suspension
The Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program may revoke a permit upon the fifth and subsequent violation, or for repeated violations of this regulation. 

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​If you have any questions or need language translation assistance, please contact the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program at tobaccocontrol@bphc.org or 617-534-4718​
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Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: info@bphc.org