IPCPR Legislative | Shipping in Washington

Shipping in Washington


Shipping in Washington

A person may not ship or transport, or cause to be shipped or transported, any tobacco product ordered or purchased by mail or through the internet to anyone in Washington other than a licensed wholesaler or retailer. The definition of tobacco products in Wash. Rev. Code § 70.155.010 provides the following: [f]or purposes of RCW 70.155.140 only, “tobacco product” does not include cigars defined in RCW 82.26.010 as to which one thousand units weigh more than three pounds. Staff reported that there is a mail-order exception for cigars. Cigars can be shipped to consumers in Washington.


Wash. Rev. Code § 70.155.010: Definitions

Wash. Rev. Code § 70.155.140: Shipping or transporting tobacco products order or purchased by mail or through the internet prohibited – Penalty


No person other than (1) a licensed distributor in the distributor’s own vehicle, a manufacturer’s representative authorized to sell or distribute tobacco products in this state, or a licensed retailer in the retailer’s own vehicle, or (2) a person who has given notice to the board in advance of the commencement of transportation shall transport or cause to be transported tobacco products for sale in Washington state.  When transporting tobacco products for sale, the transporter shall have actual possession of invoices or delivery tickets for the tobacco products.  This document must include the true name and address of the consignor or seller, the true name and address of the consignee or purchaser, and the quantity and brands of the tobacco products being transported.


Wash. Rev. Code. § 82.26.140: Transport of tobacco products – Requirements – Vehicle Inspection


Additional information about licensing in Washington is available at the Operating Your Business link above.

Staff reported that there are age restrictions on the purchase of cigars, however, there are no age verification requirements for cigars shipped directly to consumers in Washington.

Washington imposes a tax on the sale, handling, or distribution of all tobacco products in the state. This tax is imposed at the time the distributor: brings, or causes to be brought, into Washington tobacco products for sale; makes, manufactures, fabricates, or stores tobacco products in Washington for sale in the state; ships or transports tobacco products to retailers in Washington, to be sold by those retailers; or handles for sale any tobacco products that are within the state but upon which tax has not been imposed. The distributor who first possesses the tobacco product in Washington is the distributor liable for the tax. Staff reported that there are no tobacco taxes assessed on mail-order cigars.


Wash. Rev. Code. § 82.26.020: Tax imposed – Deposited into the general fund.
Wash. Rev. Code. § 82.26.030: Legislative intent – Purpose.


Additional information about taxation in Washington, including information about tax rates, filings, and forms is available at the Taxation and Definitions link above.

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