The Attorney General’s Office has issued two sets of regulations under its consumer protection authority to address the way that cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes, and cigars are sold in Massachusetts. In particular, the regulations are intended to prevent underage access to these products.
The sale and distribution of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices are governed by the regulations at 940 CMR 21.00.
The sale and distribution of cigars are governed by the regulations at 940 CMR 22.00
Among other things, the regulations require:
- Retailers to implement all measures reasonably necessary to prevent the sale of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and cigars to persons under the age of 18 or the Minimum Legal Sales Age of the city or town in which they are located.
- Specifically, the regulations require retailers to verify the age of all buyers of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and cigars appearing to be under the age of 27, with a valid government-issued photo ID.
- Generally require these products to be sold in direct face-to-face exchanges.
- Prohibit the use of "self-service" product displays for each of these products, and require them to be located out of the reach of customers, except in adult-only facilities.
- Age verification for the sale of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and cigars by mail.
- All liquid nicotine and gel products distributed or sold in Massachusetts after March 15, 2016 be contained in child-resistant packaging.
- The restriction of vending machines to use in establishments that are licensed to serve alcohol, and then only if the machine employs a lock-out device and the machine is within the sight and control of an employee and is posted with a notice that those below Minimum Legal Sales Age are prohibited from purchasing tobacco.
- Require retailers who sell hand-rolled cigars, or who display for purchase manufactured cigars outside their original package, to conspicuously post one of two specified warning statements.
Prohibited by regulations
In addition, among other things, the regulations prohibit:
- Sampling, promotional giveaways, and any other free distribution of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic smoking devices (including e-liquids and gels) and cigars. This prohibition on sampling and giveaways includes products such as e-liquids and gels that are marked as zero nicotine products.
- The unpackaging or repackaging of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic smoking devices (including e-liquids and gels), or little cigars. For example, this regulation prohibits the sale or giveaway of individual cigarettes or puffs on an electronic smoking device, including products marked as zero nicotine products.
- The distribution of branded apparel and other merchandise in connection with the sale of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, electronic smoking devices, and cigars.
- The distribution or sale of manufactured cigars or little cigars if the package does not bear one of the following labels.
Report a violation
If you believe that an e-cigarette or tobacco product manufacturer or retailer is violating the tobacco control laws, or that a participating manufacturer is violating the Master Settlement Agreement, please bring your concerns to our attention. You can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Consumer Advocacy and Response Division.