Sale of Tobacco and Vapor Products
- Engrossed House Bill 1074 was signed into law in March 2019, raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco and vapor products to 21 years of age. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2020. Learn more about the Tobacco and Vapor 21 law.
- Sale and distribution of tobacco products–WAC 314-10: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) regulates the sale and distribution of all tobacco products, and reports enforcement activities to the Department of Health.
- Youth access to tobacco law–RCW 70.155: Prohibits the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors.
- Selling or giving tobacco to a minor–RCW 26.28.080: It is illegal for anyone, including parents, to sell or give tobacco products to any person under the age of 21
- RCW 70.345 was passed in 2016 by the Washington State Legislature to regulate vapor products. Among other things, the law prohibits the sale of vapor products to people under 18 years of age, requires sellers to obtain a license, and requires that vapor products in stores are inaccessible to minors.
- The WSLCB enforces the state and federal laws regarding retail sales of vapor products. See the WSLCB's website for more information about enforcement of the vapor products law, as well as resources for retailers on licensing requirements in Washington state. The WSLCB also has information about local government regulation of vapor products.
- Tax on cigarettes–RCW 82.24: Determines the tax amount on the sale, use, consumption, handling, possession or distribution of all cigarettes.
- Tax on other tobacco products–RCW 82.26: Determines the tax amount on the sale, use, consumption, handling, possession or distribution of cigars, snuff and other tobacco products.
- Engrossed House Bill 1873: Effective October 1, 2019, vapor products (with or without nicotine) will be taxed based on volume. Any solution under 5 ml will be taxed at $.27 per ml, and solutions 5 ml and above will be taxed at a rate of $0.09 per ml.
Required Retail Signage
- Retail signage-RCW 70.345.070: Required signage must be posted on cigarette vending machines and at each location (i.e. check stand or cash register area) where tobacco and vapor products are sold.
- Available in multiple formats and languages on the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) website. To order, call the WSLCB Enforcement Customer Service Line at 360-664-9878 or email EnfCustomerService@lcb.wa.gov.
- Learn more about the Tobacco and Vapor 21 law.
Smoking in Public Places
In Washington state, we have laws and policies to help protect our workers and families from secondhand smoke in public places.
On December 8, 2005, the “Smoking in Public Places” law (RCW 70.160) went into effect, making it illegal to smoke in all indoor public places and workplaces in Washington.
- Other smoking in public places laws
- Tobacco use on school property–RCW 28A.210.310: Requires the posting of signs prohibiting the use of tobacco products, consequences for students and school staff who violate the policy, and a requirement that school district employees enforce the rules.
- Unlawful transit conduct–RCW 9.91.025: People are guilty of “unlawful transit conduct” if they smoke or carry a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar or cigarette, unless they are smoking in an area designated and authorized by the transit authority.
Vaping in Public Places
- On June 28, 2016, the state vapor product law (Chapter 70.345 RCW) became effective, applying to items such as the ban on open displays, tasting restrictions, ad restrictions on coupons, as well as the requirements for child-resistant packaging and labeling. The law regulates all vapor products, whether or not they contain nicotine, and is intended to provide Washingtonians with consumer protection, child safety, and eliminating youth access. For more information, visit the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board's website.
- Many cities and counties in Washington state have passed ordinances around vapor products. For more information about specific cities and counties or to make a complaint, contact your local health department. View more information on local vapor product regulations.
Tobacco and Vapor Product Sampling and Coupon Regulations
- Tobacco regulations
- Sampling prohibited–RCW 70.155.050: A tobacco sampling license is required to distribute samples of tobacco. Sampling may occur only within a location that holds a current cigarette license. Please check with your local city or county because some locations completely prohibit tobacco sampling.
- Coupons–RCW 70.155.070: Tobacco product coupons are redeemable only through in-person transactions.
- Vapor regulations
- Coupons for free of charge products-RCW 70.345.110: No coupons for free vapor products without purchase.
- Product tastings-requirements-penalty-RCW 70.345.100: Allows tasting in licensed, adult-only retail premises. Tasting of vapor products is limited to products without nicotine unless the customer explicitly consents to taste a vapor product with nicotine. (Note: The Food and Drug Administration has banned free samples or tasting of nicotine-containing vapor products.)
- Mail and Internet sales-RCW 70.345.090: May occur only with proof that purchaser is 18 years and older. Sellers must obtain a delivery sale license, and provide notice of the minimum age on their order form. Then, before accepting a purchase or order, they must verify the buyer's full name, birth date, and residential address through a third-party database regularly used by government and businesses to verify age and identity. Further, they may accept payment only via a credit or debit card in the purchaser's own name, and before shipping, must have purchasers certify or declare they are over 18.
- The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: On June 22, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (Tobacco Control Act), giving the FDA authority to regulate the manufacture, distribution, and marketing of tobacco products.
- In 2016, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) extended its regulatory authority over tobacco products to include vapor products (the FDA uses the term “electronic nicotine delivery systems” or ENDS). Learn more about the federal rules for consumers, retailers, and manufacturers.
- The Summary of Washington State and Federal Vapor Product Regulations (PDF) provides a side-by-side comparison on key parts of the state vapor products law and the FDA rule.