The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 7: Alcoholic Beverages

Chapter 40: TOBACCO PRODUCTS

§ 1001. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Board" means the Liquor Control Board.

(2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Department of Liquor Control.

(3) "Tobacco products" means cigarettes, little cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, snuff, cigars, new smokeless tobacco, and other tobacco products as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 7702.

(4) "Vending machine" means any mechanical, electronic, or other similar device which dispenses tobacco products for money.

(5) "Tobacco license" means a license issued by the Department of Liquor Control under this chapter permitting the licensee to engage in the retail sale of tobacco products or locate a vending machine on the premises identified in the license.

(6) "Bidis or Beedies" means a product containing tobacco that is wrapped in temburni leaf (diospyros melanoxylon) or tendu leaf (diospyros exculpra), or any other product that is offered to, or purchased by, consumers as bidis or beedies.

(7) "Tobacco paraphernalia" means any device used, intended for use, or designed for use in smoking, inhaling, ingesting, or otherwise introducing tobacco products into the human body, or for preparing tobacco for smoking, inhaling, ingesting, or otherwise introducing into the human body, including devices for holding tobacco, rolling paper, wraps, cigarette rolling machines, pipes, water pipes, carburetion devices, bongs, and hookahs.

(8) "Tobacco substitute" means products, including electronic cigarettes or other electronic or battery-powered devices, that contain and are designed to deliver nicotine or other substances into the body through inhaling vapor and that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes. Products that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for tobacco cessation or other medical purposes shall not be considered to be tobacco substitutes. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 1999, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2007, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 3; 2011, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2013, No. 14, § 1; 2013, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)


§ 1002. License required; application; fee; issuance

(a) No person shall engage in the retail sale of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia or provide a vending machine for their sale in his or her place of business without a tobacco license obtained from the Department of Liquor Control. Tobacco licenses shall expire midnight, April 30, of each year.

(b) The Board shall prepare and issue tobacco license forms and applications. These shall be incorporated into the liquor license forms and applications prepared and issued under this title. The licenses issued under this section shall be entitled "LIQUOR LICENSE," "LIQUOR-TOBACCO LICENSE" or "TOBACCO LICENSE," as applicable. The Board shall also provide simple instructions for licensees designed to assist them in complying with the provisions of this chapter.

(c) Each tobacco license shall be prominently displayed on the premises identified in the license.

(d) A person applying simultaneously for a tobacco license and a liquor license shall apply to the legislative body of the municipality and shall pay to the Department only the fee required to obtain the liquor license. A person applying for a tobacco license shall submit a fee of $100.00 to the legislative body of the municipality for each tobacco license or renewal. The municipal clerk shall forward the application to the Department, and the Department shall issue the tobacco license. The tobacco license fee shall be forwarded to the Commissioner for deposit in the Liquor Control Enterprise Fund.

(e) A person who sells tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia without obtaining a tobacco license in violation of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $200.00 for the first offense and not more than $500.00 for each subsequent offense.

(f) No individual under the age of 16 may sell tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia.

(g) No person shall engage in the retail sale of tobacco products in the State unless the person is a licensed wholesale dealer as defined in 32 V.S.A. § 7702 or has purchased the tobacco products from a licensed wholesale dealer. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 1997, No. 58, § 2; 2007, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2013, No. 14, § 2; 2013, No. 72, § 28.)


§ 1002a. Licensee education

(a) An applicant for a tobacco license that does not hold a liquor license issued under this title shall be granted a tobacco license pursuant to section 1002 of this title only after the applicant has met with a liquor control investigator for the purpose of being informed about the Vermont tobacco laws pertaining to the purchase, storage and sale of tobacco products. A corporation, partnership or association shall designate a director, partner or manager to comply with the requirements of this subsection.

(b) The holder of a tobacco license that does not also hold a liquor license issued pursuant to this title for the same premises shall:

(1) Complete the department's enforcement seminar at least once every three years. A corporation, partnership or association shall designate a director, partner or manager to comply with this subdivision.

(2) Ensure that every employee involved in the sale of tobacco products completes a training program approved by the department of liquor control before the employee begins selling or providing tobacco products, and at least once every 24 months thereafter. A licensee may comply with this subdivision by conducting its own training program on its premises using information and materials furnished by the department of liquor control. A licensee who fails to comply with the requirements of this subsection shall be subject to suspension of the tobacco license for no less than one day. (Added 2001, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. June 21, 2002.)


§ 1003. Sale of tobacco products; tobacco substitutes; tobacco paraphernalia; requirements; prohibitions

(a) A person shall not sell or provide tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia to any person younger than 18 years of age.

(b) Beginning August 28, 1997, vending machines selling tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia are prohibited. This subsection shall not apply to a vending machine that is located in a commercial establishment in which by law no person younger than 18 years of age is permitted to enter at any time. A single vending machine may not be used to sell other commodities in combination with tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia. A violation of this subsection shall result in the seizure of the vending machine.

(c) Beginning January 1, 2001, and subject to receiving any necessary exemption from preemption from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, all vending machines selling tobacco products are prohibited.

(d) No person holding a tobacco license shall display or store tobacco products or tobacco substitutes where those products are accessible to consumers without direct assistance by the sales personnel. This subsection shall not apply to the following:

(1) A display of tobacco products that is located in a commercial establishment in which by law no person younger than 18 years of age is permitted to enter at any time.

(2) Cigarettes in unopened cartons and smokeless tobacco in unopened multipack containers of 10 or more packages, any of which shall be displayed in plain view and under the control of a responsible employee so that removal of the cartons or multipacks from the display can be readily observed by that employee.

(3) Cigars and pipe tobacco stored in a humidor on the sales counter in plain view and under the control of a responsible employee so that the removal of these products from the humidor can be readily observed by that employee.

(e) The sale and the purchase of bidis is prohibited. A person who holds a tobacco license who sells bidis as prohibited by this subsection shall be fined not more than $500.00. A person who purchases bidis from any source shall be fined not more than $250.00.

(f) No person holding a tobacco license shall sell cigarettes or little cigars individually or in packs that contain fewer than 20 cigarettes or little cigars.

(g) As used in this section, "little cigars" means any rolls of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or any substance containing tobacco, other than any roll of tobacco which is a cigarette within the meaning of 32 V.S.A. § 7702(1), and as to which 1,000 units weigh not more than three pounds. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 1997, No. 58, § 3; 1999, No. 89 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2001, No. 108 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. May 15, 2002; 2011, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2013, No. 14, § 3.)


§ 1004. Proof of age for the sale of tobacco products; tobacco substitutes; tobacco paraphernalia

(a) A person shall exhibit proper proof of his or her age upon demand of a person licensed under this chapter, an employee of a licensee, or a law enforcement officer. If the person fails to provide such proof of age, the licensee shall be entitled to refuse to sell tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia to the person. The sale or furnishing of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia to a person exhibiting proper proof shall be prima facie evidence of a licensee's compliance with section 1007 of this title.

(b) As used in this section, "proper proof" means a photographic motor vehicle operator's license, a valid passport, a U.S. Military identification card or a photographic nondriver motor vehicle identification card obtained from the department of motor vehicles. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 1997, No. 58, § 4; 2013, No. 14, § 4.)


§ 1005. Persons under 18 years of age; possession of tobacco products; misrepresenting age or purchasing tobacco products; penalty

(a) A person under 18 years of age shall not possess, purchase, or attempt to purchase tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia unless the person is an employee of a holder of a tobacco license and is in possession of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia to effect a sale in the course of employment. A person under 18 years of age shall not misrepresent his or her age to purchase or attempt to purchase tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia. A person who possesses tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia in violation of this subsection shall be subject to having the tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia immediately confiscated and shall be further subject to a civil penalty of $25.00. In the case of failure to pay a penalty, the Judicial Bureau shall mail a notice to the person at the address in the complaint notifying the person that failure to pay the penalty within 60 days of the notice will result in either the suspension of the person's operator's license for a period of not more than 90 days or the delay of the initial licensing of the person for a period of not more than one year. A copy of the notice shall be sent to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles, who, after expiration of 60 days from the date of notice and unless notified by the Judicial Bureau that the penalty has been paid shall either suspend the person's operator's license or cause initial licensing of the person to be delayed for the periods set forth in this subsection and the rules. An action under this subsection shall be brought in the same manner as a traffic violation pursuant to 23 V.S.A. chapter 24. The Commissioner of Motor Vehicles shall adopt rules in accordance with the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25 to implement the provisions of this subsection, which may provide for incremental suspension or delays not exceeding cumulatively the maximum periods established by this subsection.

(b) A person under 18 years of age who misrepresents his or her age by presenting false identification to purchase tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia shall be fined not more than $50.00 or provide up to 10 hours of community service, or both. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 1997, No. 58, § 5; 1997, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), § 26; 2013, No. 14, § 5.)


§ 1006. Posting of signs

(a) A person licensed under this chapter shall post in a conspicuous place on the premises identified in the tobacco license a warning sign stating that the sale of tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, and tobacco paraphernalia to minors is prohibited. The Board shall prepare the sign and make it available with the license forms issued under this chapter. The sign may include information about the health effects of tobacco and tobacco cessation services. The Board, in consultation with a representative of the licensees when appropriate, is authorized to change the design of the sign as needed to maintain its effectiveness.

(b) A person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $100.00. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992; amended 2011, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)


§ 1007. Furnishing tobacco to persons under 18 years of age

An individual who sells or furnishes tobacco products, tobacco substitutes, or tobacco paraphernalia to a person under 18 years of age shall be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $100.00 for the first offense and not more than $500.00 for any subsequent offense. An action under this section shall be brought in the same manner as for a traffic violation pursuant to 23 V.S.A. chapter 24 and shall be brought within 24 hours of the occurrence of the alleged violation. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2; amended 1997, No. 58, § 6; 2013, No. 14, § 6.)


§ 1008. Rulemaking

The board shall adopt rules for the administration and enforcement of this chapter. (Added 1991, No. 70, § 2, eff. May 1, 1992.)


§ 1009. Contraband and seizure

Any cigarettes or other tobacco products that have been sold, offered for sale, or possessed for sale in violation of section 1003 of this title, 20 V.S.A. § 2757, 32 V.S.A. § 7786, or 33 V.S.A. § 1919, and any commercial cigarette rolling machines possessed or utilized in violation of section 1011 of this title, shall be deemed contraband, and shall be subject to seizure by the Commissioner, the Commissioner's agents or employees, the Commissioner of Taxes, or any agent or employee thereof, or by any peace officer of this state when directed to do so by the Commissioner. All cigarettes or other tobacco products seized shall be destroyed. (Added 2003, No. 14, § 6; amended 2005, No. 68, § 2; 2011, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 7.)


§ 1010. Internet sales

(a) As used in this section:

(1) "Cigarette" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A. § 7702(1).

(2) [Repealed.]

(3) "Licensed wholesale dealer" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A § 7702(5).

(4) "Little cigars" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A. § 7702(6).

(5) "Retail dealer" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A. § 7702(10).

(6) "Roll-your-own tobacco" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A § 7702(11).

(7) "Snuff" has the same definition as that found at 32 V.S.A. § 7702(13).

(b) No person shall cause cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, little cigars, or snuff, ordered or purchased by mail or through a computer network, telephonic network, or other electronic network, to be shipped to anyone other than a licensed wholesale dealer or retail dealer in this State.

(c) No person shall, with knowledge or reason to know of the violation, provide substantial assistance to a person in violation of this section.

(d) A violation of this section is punishable as follows:

(1) A knowing or intentional violation of this section shall be punishable by imprisonment for not more than five years or a fine of not more than $5,000.00, or both.

(2) In addition to or in lieu of any other civil or criminal remedy provided by law, upon a determination that a person has violated this section, the Attorney General may impose a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000.00 for each violation. For purposes of this subsection, each shipment or transport of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, little cigars, or snuff shall constitute a separate violation.

(3) The Attorney general may seek an injunction to restrain a threatened or actual violation of this section.

(4) In any action brought pursuant to this section, the State shall be entitled to recover the costs of investigation, of expert witness fees, of the action, and reasonable attorney's fees.

(5) A person who violates this section engages in an unfair and deceptive trade practice in violation of the state's Consumer Protection Act, 9 V.S.A. §§ 2451 et seq.

(6) If a court determines that a person has violated the provisions of this section, the court shall order any profits, gain, gross receipts, or other benefit from the violation to be disgorged and paid to the State Treasurer for deposit in the General Fund.

(7) Unless otherwise expressly provided, the penalties or remedies, or both, under this section are in addition to any other penalties and remedies available under any other law of this State. (Added 2007, No. 119 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2011, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 8, 2012; 2011, No. 136 (Adj. Sess.), § 1b; 2013, No. 14, § 7.)


§ 1011. Commercial cigarette rolling machines

(a) A person shall not possess or use a cigarette rolling machine for commercial purposes.

(b) A person who knowingly violates subsection (a) of this section shall be subject to the following civil penalties:

(1) The revocation or termination of any license, permit, appointment, or commission under this chapter.

(2) A civil penalty of up to $50,000.00 in any action brought by the Department of Taxes, the Department of Liquor Control, or the Attorney General.

(c) Penalties assessed under subsection (b) of this section shall be paid into the general fund.

(d) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section shall be imprisoned for not more than three years or fined not more than $100,000.00 or both.

(e) This section shall not apply to the possession of a cigarette rolling machine intended solely for personal use by individuals who do not intend to offer the resulting product for resale.

(f) A cigarette rolling machine capable of rolling 200 cigarettes in fewer than 15 minutes is presumed to be for commercial purposes. (Added 2011, No. 166 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)


[Section 1012 effective January 1, 2015.]§ 1012. Liquid nicotine; packaging

(a) Unless specifically preempted by federal law, no person shall manufacture, regardless of location, for sale in; offer for sale in; sell in or into the stream of commerce in; or otherwise introduce into the stream of commerce in Vermont:

(1) any liquid or gel substance containing nicotine unless that product is contained in child-resistant packaging; or

(2) any nicotine liquid container unless that container constitutes child-resistant packaging.

(b) As used in this section:

(1) "Child-resistant packaging" means packaging that is designed or constructed to be significantly difficult for children under five years of age to open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount of the substance contained therein within a reasonable time and not difficult for normal adults to use properly, but does not mean packaging which all such children cannot open or obtain a toxic or harmful amount within a reasonable time.

(2) "Nicotine liquid container" means a bottle or other container of a nicotine liquid or other substance containing nicotine which is sold, marketed, or intended for use in a tobacco substitute. The term does not include a container containing nicotine in a cartridge that is sold, marketed, or intended for use in a tobacco substitute if the cartridge is prefilled and sealed by the manufacturer and not intended to be opened by the consumer. (Added 2013, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), § 8, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.)