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Frequently Asked Questions

TOBACCO/NICOTINE SALES PERMIT


1. How do I get a tobacco/nicotine sales 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 obtain a City of Boston Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products. 

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

All tobacco sales permits expire yearly on December 31. It is the retailer’s responsibility to ensure your permit is current. Renew your permit by following the steps on the Obtaining a Tobacco Sales Permit page. 

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

1010 Massachusetts Ave, 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02118. You can reach the program at tobaccocontrol@bphc.org or 617-534-4718

4.      What is the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) License?

Prior to applying for the City of Boston Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products, retailers must obtain a state license from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. There are three types of DOR Licenses that are available based on what a retailer is selling or planning on selling. Copies of the DOR license(s) must be submitted with the application for the City of Boston Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products.

  1. Retailers License for Sale of Cigarettes (Form CT-3)
  2. Retailers License for Sale of Cigars and Smoking Tobacco (Form CT-3T)
  3. Retailers License for Sale of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems 
5. How do I contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR)?

Contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at 617-887-5090 or visit their website at https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-revenue

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

Yes, you need a tobacco sales permit if you only sell nicotine delivery/vape products. You must first obtain the Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) Retailers License for Sale of Vape and then apply for the City of Boston Permit for Location and Sales 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. 

FLAVORED TOBACCO


1. What is a flavored tobacco product? 

Flavored tobacco products are tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, rolling and pipe tobacco, bidis, snuff, e-cigarettes/vape, and e-liquid) with a distinguishable taste or aroma, other than the taste or aroma of tobacco.  Flavored tobacco products include those with tastes or aromas relating to mint, menthol, wintergreen, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb, or spice. Flavored tobacco products may only be sold at Smoking Bars.

2.      What is a tobacco product flavor enhancer?

A tobacco product flavor enhancer is any product designed, manufactured, produced, marketed, or sold to produce a characterizing flavor when added to any tobacco product. Flavored tobacco product flavor enhancers may only be sold at Smoking Bars.

3. May I sell flavored vape juice that contains 0% nicotine? 

Flavored vape juice, regardless of nicotine content, may one be sold at Smoking Bars. Unflavored nicotine delivery/vape products may be sold if a retailer has documentation from the manufacturer confirming that the product has a nicotine content of less than 35 milligrams/milliliters. Adult-only retail tobacco stores and Smoking Bars are not required to obtain documentation confirming the nicotine content. 

ADULT-ONLY TOBACCO STORES


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

Retailers seeking to be designated as an adult-only retail tobacco store, for the purposes of selling nicotine deliver/vape products with nicotine content greater than 35 milligrams/milliliter, must submit a letter of intent to the Tobacco Prevention and Control Program. This letter of intent should include information demonstrating that:
  • Individuals under the age of 21 (including employees) will be prohibited from the establishment. 
  • All entrants will have their ID's examined immediately upon entry. 
  • The sale of any items other than tobacco/nicotine delivery products and paraphernalia is prohibited. 
  • The sale of nicotine delivery/vaping products with a nicotine content of more than 35 milligrams/milliliters is permitted at adult-only retail tobacco stores. 
  • The establishment will not have food, liquor, or a 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? 

According to the Boston Public Health Commission's recently amended Youth Access Regulation Guidelines (July 10, 2020):

  • A single cigar must retail at two dollars and ninety cents ($2.90) or more.
  • A package of two or more cigars must retail at five dollars and eighty cents ($5.80) or more.

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

Violations of the Clean Air Works Workplace Regulation include smoking in the workplace, use of e-cigarettes/vape in the workplace, failure to post required No Smoking sign, etc. Citations for a violation of the Clean Air Works Workplace Regulation include the following penalties:  
  • 1st violation: $200 
  • 2nd violation within 24 months: $700 
  • 3rd and subsequent violation within 24 months: $1000

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

Violations of the Youth Access Regulation include sales of tobacco/nicotine delivery products to persons under the age of 21, cigar packaging, sale of flavored tobacco/nicotine delivery products, etc. Citations for a violation of the Youth Access Regulation incur the following penalties:
  • 1st violation within 24 months: $200
  • 2nd violation within 24 months: $400 and a 7-day suspension of the Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products
  • 3rd violation within 24 months: $600 and a 30-day suspension of the Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products
  • 4th violation within 24 months: $800 and a 60-day suspension of the Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products
  • 5th and subsequent violation: Tobacco Control may permanently revoke a Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products. If a Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products is not revoked, a retailer may be subject to subsequent repeat fines and suspensions of the Permit for Location and Sales of Tobacco Products, unless a higher fine is set forth in state law or regulation. 
Penalties under the Massachusetts Law or regulation at 105 CMR 665.000 may be enforced by the Boston Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.  

3.      What is the penalty for a violation of the Massachusetts Tobacco Regulations? 
  • 1st violation within 36 months: $1000 
  • 2nd violation within 36 months: $2000 and a tobacco permit suspension of up to 7 days
  • 3rd and subsequent violations within 36 months: $5000 and a tobacco permit suspension of up to 30 days

​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