News Release

Contact: Office of Public Affairs
1-916-327-8988
For Immediate Release
November 2, 2016
NR 90-16-G

eCigarette Sellers Required to Register for
Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer Licenses

Sacramento – Starting on January 1, 2017, sellers of electronic cigarettes (eCigarettes), vaping devices, and other related products will be required to obtain a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License from the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). This license must be obtained prior to making retail sales of these products to consumers. It will cost $265 for a 12-month period, and must be renewed annually at this cost.

In accordance with Senate Bill x2 5 products requiring licensing will now include: any product containing, made, or derived from nicotine; any electronic smoking or vaping device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to the person inhaling from the device; and any component, part, or accessory, even if itís sold separately.

For example, selling eCigarettes, vaping tanks or mods, atomizers, and e-juice or e-liquid at a retail store will require a business to obtain a Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer's License. However, these products are not subject to excise taxes imposed by the Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax Law, and retailers will not be required to maintain purchase invoices or obtain these products from a BOE licensed cigarette or tobacco products distributor or wholesaler. This licensing requirement does not apply to cannabis-related vaping devices that are sold in properly licensed cannabis dispensaries.

Sellers of electronic cigarettes, vaping devices and other related products should also have a California Seller's Permit. Retailers can register online. for the cigarette and tobacco products retailer license.

Beginning January 1, 2017, anyone found selling or gifting any of these products without obtaining a valid license is in violation of the law and subject to a misdemeanor citation and seizure of inventory. Products seized by the BOE or other law enforcement agency are deemed forfeited and cannot be returned by law.

For more information on the new license requirement, read the BOE's special notice.


Chairwoman Fiona Ma, CPA, was elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2014, to represent the Second Equalization District. She represents 9.5 million residents in many of California's coastal counties, from Del Norte to Santa Barbara, including the entire San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Ma served in the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2012, serving as the first Asian woman Assembly Speaker pro Tempore. While in the Assembly, Ms. Ma focused on improving California, authoring legislation to create jobs and grow the state's economy. As an Executive Board Member of the National Conference of State Legislators, she worked to keep California's economy competitive with other states. Ms. Ma has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in California since 1992. For more information, visit Ms. Ma's Web page.

George Runner represents the State Board of Equalization's First District and is a leading advocate for California taxpayers. Prior to being elected to the BOE, Runner served in the State Legislature where he authored California's Amber Alert and Blue Alert. As a member of the Senate Revenue and Taxation committee, he led the fight against tax increases and supported tax relief for all Californians. A thoughtful conservative, Runner's priorities include improving the economy, business growth, education excellence, and public safety for all Californians.

The five-member California State Board of Equalization (BOE) is a publicly elected tax board. The BOE collects $60.5 billion annually in taxes and fees, supporting state and local government services. It hears business tax appeals, acts as the appellate body for franchise and personal income tax appeals, and serves a significant role in the assessment and administration of property taxes. For more information on other taxes and fees in California, visit the California Tax Service Center.

Note: This news release may discuss complex tax laws and concepts. It may not address every situation, and is not considered written advice under Revenue and Taxation Code section 6596. Changes in law or regulations may have occurred since the time this news release was written. If there is a conflict between the text of this news release and the law, decisions will be based upon the law and not this news release. For specific help, please contact the BOE at 1-800-400-7115.