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New Regulations to Curb Youth Nicotine Use Begins on July 1

Beginning Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Electronic Smoking Devices (ESDs) – commonly referred to as vaping devices -- including any refill, cartridge or ESD component will be subject to an additional city sales and use tax of 40%.

This past November 79.67% of voters approved the additional tax on ESD/vaping product. An implementation ordinance (Ordinance No. 8376) was adopted by City Council in early 2020 which set the tax rate at 40% and imposed the tax on sales of ESDs in the city as of July 1, 2020.

Electronic Smoking Devices are defined in BRC 6-4.5-1 as “any product containing or delivering nicotine intended for human consumption that can be used by an individual to simulate smoking in the delivery of nicotine or any other substance, even if marketed as nicotine-free, through inhalation from the product. Electronic smoking device includes any refill, cartridge or component part of a product, whether or not marketed or sold separately. Electronic smoking device does not include any product that has been approved or certified by the United States Food and Drug Administration for sale as a tobacco cessation product or for other medically approved or certified purposes.”

Sales of ESDs are subject to both the regular city sales and use tax rate of 3.86% -- remitted on the regular city sales and use tax return – and the additional city sales and use tax rate of 40% on ESDs – remitted on the ESD city sales and use tax return. ESDs are also subject to all state-collected sales taxes at the point of sale.

Additional measures to curb youth tobacco use were passed by City Council in 2019. These measures include

  • Raising the age to purchase to 21 for tobacco products 
  • Limiting any one retailer from selling more than two electronic cigarettes or four associated products including refills to any one person in any 24-hour period 
  • Banning the sale of flavored vaping products (temporary menthol-flavored products exception, see bullet below)
  • Restricting the ability to sell menthol-flavored vaping products only to businesses that have 21 and over age restrictions for entry until Dec. 31, 2019. After Jan. 1, 2020, the sale of menthol flavored electronic cigarettes in the city of Boulder is completely prohibited.  

More information can be found at

Published: June 30, 2020

Media Contacts:

Shannon Aulabaugh, Media Relations, 720-484-9903
Tom Carr, City Attorney, 303-441-3832