It is illegal to sell tobacco products to persons under the age of 18 in Massachusetts.
Retailers who wish to sell tobacco products must obtain a state tobacco license. Licenses can be purchased through the Department of Revenue. The Department of Revenue also sets and monitors price minimums for tobacco products. All questions should be directed to 1-617-887-5090.
Most communities also require separate local tobacco licenses, and many require licenses to sell nicotine delivery products. These are obtained from the local board of health or municipality. Contact your local board of health for more information.
Under 27: Show I.D., Under 18: No Sale
The Under 27 campaign is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Office of the Attorney General.
The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness among retailers, their employees, and the general public about state and local tobacco sales laws and to encourage retailers to comply more effectively with these laws, particularly as they relate to the sale of tobacco products to minors.
The Under 27 materials remind tobacco retailers that they must ask for photo I.D. from any customer who appears to be younger than 27.Retailers may not sell any tobacco products to customers who are younger than 18. Some municipalities have raised the minimum age for tobacco sales to 19 or 21.
Materials are offered free of charge at the Massachusetts Health Promotion Clearinghouse.
Educating Retail Store Personnel
Local boards of health conduct regular merchant education trainings to teach store managers and employees about local and state youth access laws and how to check identification. To find out how your store personnel can participate, contact your local board of health.
- Manager's Guide to Training Employees
- Factsheets for Training
- Pre-Post Test for Training
- Pre-Post Test Answer Key
Tobacco Taxes and Pricing
As of July 1, 2013, the excise tax imposed on cigarettes under M.G.L. 64C increased to $3.51 per pack. The cigar and smoking tobacco excise imposed by M.G.L. 64C increased from 30% to 40% of the wholesale price of the products, and smokeless tobacco products increased from 90% to 210% of the wholesale price.
Cigarettes are also required, under M.G.L. 64C, to be sold at a minimum price as determined by the Department of Revenue (DOR). DOR periodically updates the lowest price at which each cigarette brand may be sold.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation & Prevention Program within the Department of Public Health.