Alternative nicotine or other vapor product Retail Licenses
Do you sell or plan to sell alternative nicotine products in your retail establishment? The Montana Department of Revenue wants to notify retailers who sell alternative nicotine or vapor products that under new Montana law SB 66, you’ll need to apply for a license before January 1, 2016. They’re sometimes called vapor cigarettes or vapes, and even if you have a retail tobacco license, you’ll need this license to sell these types of products.
The alternative nicotine or vapor products license is $5 annually.
Apply for Your Alternative Nicotine or other vapor products license here:
The alternative nicotine or vapor products license application is now available on the Department of Revenue website. Please visit the eStop Business Licenses Online Service to apply and pay for your alternative nicotine or other product retail sales license.
The Montana Department of Revenue eStop unit can issue you an alternative nicotine license via the online process or paper application.
Frequently Asked Questions
Businesses that sell alternative nicotine products directly to Montana’s consumers must purchase a $5 retail license by January 1, 2016, in order to continue selling alternative nicotine or vapor products.
Even if you currently sell these vapor products and have a retail tobacco license, you will need this new alternative nicotine or vapor products license in order to continue selling these vapor products in Montana. This is a new law that came from Senate Bill 66 during the 2015 legislative term.
Q. What are alternative nicontine or vapor (vape) products?
A. Vape products are electronic devices used to produce an inhaling or smoking vapor. These vape devices are known as e-cigarette, vapor device, vape, vapor generator, or cold smoke devices. Accessories, liquid, or e-juice used with or used to modify the vape devices are also alternative nicotine or vapor products.
Q. We are a medical marijuana dispensary co-op. We do not sell any form of tobacco or nicotine alternative, nor do we sell e-cigarettes. Does my business need to have a vape license?
A. Yes. A vape license is required if the dispensary sells or leases any vapor or cold smoke devices used by your clients as an alternative method to smoking their medications. Only licensed medical equipment distributors of vaporizers and nebulizers regulated and properly certified by the FDA are exempt from the vape licensing requirement.
Q. How do I buy an alternative nicotine or vapor products (vape) license?
A. The vape license is processed through the eStop Business Licenses service:
Q. I already have a tobacco retail license. Why do I have to buy this license?
A. The tobacco retailer license allows you to sell tobacco products. Vapor products do not contain any tobacco. This new law has limited the sales of vape products to consumers who are 18 or older. This license requirement allows the state to identify the retail distributors of these products. It helps our investigators to ensure vape products are not made available to children under 18.
Q. Does a licensed wholesaler, subjobber, or vendor need to have this license?
A. No. Wholesalers, subjobbers, and vending machine operators are not required to be licensed because their customers are not Montana consumers. Only if a wholesaler, subjobber, or vending machine operator also sells retail vapor products and vape accessories directly to consumers, then they are required to buy this license.
Q. My business only sells vapor products. Do I have to buy a tobacco products retail license?
A. No. You only need to buy an alternative nicotine or vape products retail license.
Q. My eStop license's anniversary date is in February. Can I add this license on my anniversary date?
A. No. To continue to sell vapor products and accessories, your business must be actively licensed to sell to Montana customers by January 1, 2016.
Q. Will the department prorate the $5 fee when my anniversary date is in February and my licenses are renewed within a month after I added this license?
A. No. The $5 fee cannot be prorated.
Q. What is the penalty for selling without a license?
A. The civil penalty is a $100 fine. This penalty can be assessed by inspectors from the DPHHS or AG office. Montana Code Annotated 16-11-308(1) Civil penalties – license suspension – tobacco education fee speaks to the penalty of operating without a license.
Q. Will my business be penalized if I failed to obtain a license by January 1, 2016?
A.That is a possibility, if your business is selected for an onsite inspection to check your business licensing compliance and you haven’t bought a license yet. There are four different state and federal agencies enforcing the sales of tobacco and vape products. Each agency has their own inspectors and goals.
1. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services' (DPHHS) job is to ensure tobacco and vapor products are not sold to underage minors.
2. The Montana Department of Justice's (AG) job is to ensure sales of cigarettes and loose tobacco are in compliance with the National Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA).
3. The Montana Department of Revenue’s (DOR) job is to ensure all businesses are properly licensed and the tobacco taxes are properly assessed.
4. The federal Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) job is to regulate and approve the type, packaging, and availability of tobacco products sold in the United States.