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Vaping and Tobacco Taxation and Regulations

Vaping and Tobacco Taxation and Regulations

Electronic Smoking Devices and Tobacco Taxation and Requirements 

During 2019 and 2020, council approved two ordinances that affect tobacco retailers:

Ordinance 8340 raises the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years of age, requires age verification, prohibits the sale of flavored tobacco products and limits the number of electronic smoking devices and related products that can be sold to an individual in a 24-hour period.

Ordinance 8376 establishes a forty percent (40%) tax on electronic smoking devices, requires licensing of tobacco retailers, and establishes a tobacco retailer license fee.

This page includes useful information for tobacco retailers operating in the City of Boulder.

Taxation of Cigarettes, Tobacco, and Electronic Smoking Devices

  • All businesses operating in the City of Boulder (including tobacco retailers) must apply for a business license
    • Apply for a new business license here.
    • Electronic Smoking Device (ESD) retailers need to contact sales tax to get an ESD tax type added to their account: [email protected] or 303-441-3051
  • Effective July 1, 2020, tobacco retailers must collect and remit the 40% sales tax on Electronic Smoking Devices including any refill, cartridge or any other ESD component.
  • Tobacco retailers must collect and remit the 3.86% City of Boulder tax on all tobacco products except for cigarettes.
  • Cigarettes are exempt from sales/use tax in the City of Boulder.

Licensing Requirements

  • Pursuant to Ordinance 8376, all retailers selling tobacco products must possess a Tobacco Retailer License by January 1, 2021.  
    • It is estimated that Tobacco Retailer License application processing will take approximately 3-4 weeks and applications are processed on a first received in-first reviewed out basis, so please file ASAP to meet the January 1, 2021 license deadline.
  • Visit the Tobacco Retailer License page for more information.

Additional Regulatory Requirements

  • Ordinance 8340 created several regulations which tobacco retailers have an obligation to enforce. These regulations include:  Raising the minimum age to purchase tobacco products to 21 years
  • Requiring that tobacco retailers to verify a purchaser’s date of birth before selling 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 tobacco products to be used in an electronic smoking device in Boulder
  • Restricting the ability to sell menthol flavored electronic cigarette products to only 21 and over age restricted businesses until Dec. 31, 2019. After Jan. 1, 2020 the sale of menthol flavored electronic cigarettes in the city of Boulder is completely prohibited.

Ask a Question or Report a Violation

Frequently Asked Questions   

Boulder is among the first Colorado cities to enact a flavor sales ban on electronic cigarettes and associated products. We’re following closely in the steps of Aspen, Basalt and Edgewater locally and national examples including San Francisco. City staff will monitor the administration and communication of Ordinance 8340 with support from Boulder County Public Health, and consider future revisions, if significant issues arise.   

Please keep checking this webpage for updates, additional content, meeting and conference call notices, and for registration and compliance information. 

On Sept. 17, 2019, Boulder City Council voted to approve Ordinance 8340 which adopts a new chapter of the Boulder Revised Code – Chapter 6-4.5 “Sale of Tobacco Products.” The new chapter impacts residents in multiple ways including:

  • 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 tobacco products to be used in an electronic smoking device (temporary menthol flavored products exception, see bullet below) in Boulder
  • Restricting the ability to sell menthol flavored electronic cigarette products to only 21 and over age restricted businesses until Dec. 31, 2019. After Jan. 1, 2020 the sale of menthol flavored electronic cigarettes in the city of Boulder is completely prohibited.

Ordinance 8340 codified as Boulder Revised Code (BRC) Chapter 6-4.5 “Sale of Tobacco Products” goes into effect on Oct. 17, 2019. Ordinance 8340 can be found here. pdf

 

All definitions below are from Chapter 6-4.5-1 “Definitions”:

A tobacco product is a product which contains, is made or derived from tobacco or used to deliver nicotine, synthetic nicotine or other substances intended for human consumption. This includes products whether heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, bidis, snus, nicotine product, mints or hand gels.

A flavored product is any tobacco product that contains a constituent (any ingredient, substance, chemical or compound other than tobacco, water or a reconstituted tobacco sheet that is added by the manufacturer to a tobacco product during the processing, manufacturer or packaging of a Tobacco Product) that imparts a characterizing flavor. A characterizing flavor is a distinguishable (perceivable by taste or smell) taste or aroma or both other than the taste or aroma of tobacco, imparted either prior to or during consumption of a Tobacco Product or any byproduct produced by the tobacco product. Characterizing flavors include, but are not limited to, tastes or aromas relating to any menthol, mint, wintergreen, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb, spice; provided however, that a tobacco product shall not be determined to have a characterizing flavor solely because of the use of additives or flavorings or the provision of ingredient information. Rather, it is the presence of a distinguishable taste or aroma or both, as described in the first sentence of this definition that constitutes a characterizing flavor.

No, it is not illegal for an individual to own flavored tobacco products under the City Code. State or federal law may limit possession for minors.

  • Consumers may see price increases
  • Starting Oct. 17th, consumers will no longer be able to purchase flavored products except menthol in the City of Boulder. Menthol flavored products designed for or capable of being used in an Electronic Smoking Device will only be available until January 1, 2020, in stores that limit entry to those 21 years of age or older. (BRC 6-4.5-2(c))
  • Individuals selling or distributing flavored tobacco products free of charge to those under the age of 21, or in possession of four or more flavored tobacco products are in violation of the local law and could be charged with civil penalties up to $5,000 per occurrence (BRC 6-4.5-3) and/or criminal penalties (BRC 6-4.5-2)

Yes.

The ordinance does not address this.

The ordinance excludes marijuana from the definition of tobacco product.

No. The only exception to the ordinance is that those establishments that were selling or offering for sale on the effective date of the ordinance, can continue to sell only menthol-flavored tobacco products designed for or capable of being used in an electronic smoking device until Dec. 31, 2019, so long as they limit entry to those 21 years of age or older. After Jan. 1, 2020 the sale of menthol- flavored tobacco products designed for or capable of being used in an electronic smoking device in the city of Boulder is completely prohibited.

To report a violation of this ordinance or to ask additional questions, visit the top of this page and submit your inquiry or report using the corresponding form.

The ordinance affects all businesses the same except those establishments that were selling or offering for sale on the effective date of the ordinance, can continue to sell only menthol-flavored tobacco products designed for or capable of being used in an electronic smoking device until Dec. 31, 2019, so long as they limit entry to those 21 years of age or older. After Jan. 1, 2020 the sale of menthol- flavored tobacco products designed for or capable of being used in an electronic smoking device in the city of Boulder is completely prohibited.