Maine

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Maine Revenue Services
Sales, Fuel, and Special Tax Division
(207) 624-9655

Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics & Election Practices
(207) 287-4179
(207) 287-6775 fax

PCA Contact

Rachel Hall rachel@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Maine imposes a tax on smokeless and other tobacco products purchased for sale in the state by any person engaged in the business of a tobacco product distributor. The tax is imposed at the time the distributor brings or causes to be brought into Maine tobacco products that are for sale to consumers or to retailers or for use or at the time 12/11/2018 05:24:37 tobacco products are manufactured or fabricated in Maine for sale in the state. Consumers in possession of untaxed tobacco products are liable for the tax.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4403

Staff reported that Maine localities do not levy additional tobacco product taxes.

Maine LD 1028 (2019) increases the cigarette tax from $2.00 to $3.50 per pack of 20 cigarettes and increases the tax on all other tobacco products including electronic cigarettes. The tax is raised to 81% of the wholesale sales price, beginning November 1, 2019. The bill provides that, if the tax on cigarettes is increased on or after November 1, 2019, the tax on all other tobacco products will be adjusted by a rate that is equivalent to the percentage change in the tax rate for one cigarette. 

This measure increases the tax on tobacco products, other than cigarettes, to 43% of the wholesale sales price, beginning January 2, 2020, and includes electronic smoking devices and liquids used in electronic smoking devices in the definition of “tobacco products.” The amendment provides that, if the tax on cigarettes is increased after January 2, 2020, the tax on smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products will be adjusted by a rate that is equivalent to the percentage change in the tax rate for one cigarette.

Every licensed tobacco product distributor must file, on or before the last day of each month, a Tobacco Products Tax Return, along with payment for the taxes due. The return must report all tobacco products held, purchased, manufactured, brought in, or caused to be brought in from outside Maine, or shipped or transported to retailers within the state during the preceding calendar month.

A person who is not a licensed tobacco products distributor who imports, receives, or otherwise acquires tobacco products for use or consumption in Maine from a person other than a licensed distributor must file, on or before the last day of the month following each month in which tobacco products were acquired, an Other Tobacco Products Tax Declaration.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Main Revenue Services: Sales, Fuel, & Special Tax Division: Cigarette & Tobacco Products Instructional BulletinExcise Taxl Bulletin #3
Tobacco Products Tax ReturnTobacco Products Tax Return
Other Tobacco Products Tax DeclarationOTP Tax Declaration

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Smoking” includes carrying or having in one’s possession a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe, or other object giving off tobacco smoke.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1541(6)

Tobacco products” means any product that is made from or derived from tobacco, or that contains nicotine, that is intended for human consumption or is likely to be consumed, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled or ingested by any other means, including, but not limited to, a cigarette, a cigar, a hookah, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff or snus. “Tobacco product” also means an electronic smoking device and any component or accessory used in the consumption of a tobacco product, such as filters, rolling papers, pipes and liquids used in electronic smoking devices, whether or not they contain nicotine. “Tobacco product” does not include drugs, devices or combination products authorized for sale by the United States Food and Drug Administration, as those terms are defined in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4401(9)

A “premium cigar” is a cigar that weighs more than 3 pounds per 1,000 and is wrapped in whole tobacco leaf.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1551(5)

A “distributor” is a person engaged in the business of producing or manufacturing tobacco products in Maine for sale in the state, a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products in Maine who brings, or causes to be brought, into the state any tobacco products for sale to a retailer, a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products who ships or transports tobacco products to retailers for sale in Maine, a retailer who imports, receives, or acquires, from a person other than a licensed distributor, tobacco products for sale within Maine or a person who makes delivery sales.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4401(2)

A “retailer” is any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products to ultimate consumers.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4401(5)

A “manufacturer” is a person who manufactures and sells tobacco products.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4401(3)

A “sale” is any transfer, exchange, barter, or gift in any manner or by any means whatsoever, for a consideration. “Sale” includes a gift for advertising by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products.

36 Me. Rev. Stat.§ 4401(7)

Tobacco use” includes 1) Smoking, which means carrying or having in one’s possession an electronic smoking device, as defined in section 1541, subsection 1-A, 2) The use of smokeless tobacco.

Maine LD 152 (2019)

Restrictions

Maine law prohibits smoking in all enclosed areas of public places, meaning any place not open to the sky into which the public is invited or allowed; outdoor eating areas, defined as decks or other properties that are partially enclosed or open to the sky that are permitted for outdoor eating or drinking under the control of an eating establishment, as long as food or drink is served by the eating establishment to the public for consumption on the premises; restrooms made available to the public; childcare facility-designated motor vehicles within 12 hours before transporting a child and when a child is present; outdoor areas of childcare facilities where children may be present; the buildings or on the grounds of any elementary or secondary school; and within 20 feet of a beach, playground, snack bar, group picnic shelter, business facility, enclosed area, public place, or restroom in a state park or state historic site. 

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1542(1): Smoking prohibited in public places

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1578-B(2): Tobacco use in elementary and secondary schools prohibited

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1580-E: Smoking in state parks and state historic sites


Signs must be posted conspicuously in buildings where smoking is regulated. Designated areas must have signs that read “Smoking Permitted” with letters at least one inch in height. Places, where smoking is prohibited, must have signs that read “No Smoking” with letters at least one inch in height or the international symbol for no smoking.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1543

Maine LD 152 (2019) includes in the prohibition against tobacco use in elementary or secondary schools the possession of an electronic smoking device, which is defined as a device used to deliver nicotine or any other substance intended for human consumption that may be used by a person to simulate smoking through inhalation of vapor or aerosol from the device, including, without limitation, a device manufactured, distributed, marketed or sold as an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic pipe, electronic hookah or so-called vape pen.

Maine law contains no specific provisions concerning state preemption of local laws on smoking, so local communities are allowed to pass stronger laws or ordinances further restricting this area.

The following are exempt from the ban on smoking, subject to conditions:

  • Enclosed areas of a public place during a period of time that the facility containing the enclosed area is not open to the public. During its normal business hours, a public place must be closed for at least one hour to be considered “not open to the public.”
  • Theaters or other enclosed structures used for plays, lectures, recitals, or other similar purposes if the smoking is solely by a performer and the smoking is part of the performance.
  • Any area where smoking is undertaken as part of a religious ceremony or as part of cultural activity by a defined group.
  • Recreational, social, patriotic, or fraternal clubs that:
    • have written policies allowing onto the premises only the employer and employees, members, and invited guests accompanied by a member
    • have conducted a vote in favor of smoking
    • have provided written notice to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention of the results of the vote within 30 days of the vote
  • Designated hotel or motel rooms
  • Private residences, unless the residence is used as day care or babysitting service. If a private residence is used as day care or babysitting service, smoking is prohibited:
    • In the residence, during the hours of operation as day care or babysitting service
    • In outdoor areas on the property of that private residence, wherever a child under care may be present, and
    • During the facility’s hours of operation, in a motor vehicle owned or operated by the facility whenever a child under care is in the vehicle
  • Public places when beano or bingo games are being conducted
  • Tobacco specialty stores, defined as a retail business under 2,000 square feet in which at least 60% of the business’s gross revenue for the last calendar year was derived from the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products. The on-premises service, preparation, or consumption of food or drink, if the tobacco specialty store was not licensed for such service or consumption prior to January 1, 2007, is prohibited. Smoking a water pipe or hookah is prohibited in a tobacco specialty store that is newly licensed or that requires a new license after January 1, 2007.
    • Establishments may designate on the Retail Tobacco License Application that their establishment qualifies as a Tobacco Specialty Store. This designation must be supported by documentation at the time the application is filed.
  • Designated smoking areas in a licensed off-track betting facility or simulcast racing facility at a commercial track.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1542(2): Smoking prohibited in public places: Limitations

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1541(7): Tobacco specialty store

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1580-A(9): Smoking in places of employment

As of July 2018, it is illegal to sell or distribute tobacco to a person under 21. A person under 21 is not permitted to possess tobacco, except in private residences or if accompanied by a parent, spouse, or legal guardian 21 years of age or older.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1555-B


Similarly, it is illegal to sell, furnish, give away, or offer to sell, furnish, or give away a tobacco product to any person under 18 years of age. Tobacco products may not be sold at retail to any person under 27 years of age unless the seller first verifies that person’s age by means of reliable photographic identification containing the person’s date of birth.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1555-B(2)


A dealer or distributor of tobacco products must post a notice of the law prohibiting tobacco and cigarette paper sales to persons under 21 years of age. Notices must be publicly and conspicuously displayed in the dealer’s or distributor’s place of business in letters at least 3/8 inches in height.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1555-B(6)


A person under 18 years of age is prohibited from entering a business licensed as a tobacco specialty store unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, regardless of whether smoking is allowed in that store.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1547


Maine law allows municipalities to enact ordinances or regulations that are more restrictive than state law in this area. However, when a municipality intends to consider an ordinance or regulation or intends to amend an ordinance or regulation so that the ordinance or regulation would be more restrictive than state law, the municipality must give notice of that intention by mail, at least 30 days prior to consideration of the ordinance, regulation, or amendment, to the last known address of each retail tobacco licensee doing business within the municipal corporate limits. This notice must state the time, place and date of a hearing or proposed enactment and the subject matter of the proposed ordinance, regulation, or amendment.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1556

In Maine, a distributor may not offer for sale or sell tobacco products if the package containing the tobacco products is subject to and does not comply with the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act for the placement of labels, warnings, or any other information for a package of tobacco products to be sold within the United States.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404-B(1)(A)


It is unlawful for any person, partnership, or corporation that engages in retail sales, including free distribution of tobacco products, to sell, keep for sale, or give away in the course of trade any tobacco products to anyone without first obtaining a Retail Tobacco License by filing the Department of Health and Human Services Retail Tobacco License Application.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1551-A(1)


Free tobacco samples are subject to the Maine tobacco products tax, as the term “sale” is defined to include a gift for advertising by a person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4401(7)

Operating Your Business

Each tobacco product distributor must first register with Maine Revenue Services and obtain a Tobacco Distributor’s License by filing the Maine Revenue Services and Department of Labor Application for Tax Registration. There is no fee for this application. Tobacco Distributor Licenses expire on June 30th each year and must be renewed by filing the same form.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4402


Tobacco product retailers are required to obtain a Retail Tobacco License from the Department of Health and Human Services by filing the Retail Tobacco License Application. There are three types of Retail Tobacco Licenses in Maine, distinguished by different sales requirements and application fees:

  • Retail Tobacco I
    • Less than 30% annual gross revenue from total cigarette or other tobacco product sales
    • $100 application fee
  • Retail Tobacco II
    • Greater than or equal to 30-50% of annual gross revenue from total cigarette or other tobacco product sales
    • $125 application fee
  • Retail Tobacco III 
    • Greater than 50% of annual gross revenue from total cigarette or other tobacco product sales
    • $150 application fee

Retailers may also designate on the Retail Tobacco License Application that their establishment qualifies as a Tobacco Specialty Store, defined as a retail business under 2,000 square feet in which at least 60% of the business’s gross revenue for the last calendar year was derived from the sale of tobacco or tobacco-related products. This designation must be supported by documentation at the time the application is filed. Qualification as a Tobacco Specialty Store exempts the establishment from the ban on smoking. However, the on-premises service, preparation, or consumption of food or drink, if the tobacco specialty store is not licensed for such service or consumption prior to January 1, 2007, is prohibited. Smoking a water pipe or hookah is also prohibited in a tobacco specialty store that is newly licensed or that requires a new license after January 1, 2007.

Retail Tobacco Licenses expire every March 31st and must be renewed annually. Renewal notices will be sent to the mailing address provided on the application.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1551-A: Retail tobacco sales license required

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1541(7): Tobacco specialty store


Every licensed tobacco product distributor must file, on or before the last day of each month, a Tobacco Products Tax Return, along with payment for the taxes due. The return must report all tobacco products held, purchased, manufactured, brought in, or caused to be brought in from outside Maine, or shipped or transported to retailers within the state during the preceding calendar month.

A person who is not a licensed tobacco products distributor who imports, receives, or otherwise acquires tobacco products for use or consumption in Maine from a person other than a licensed distributor must file, on or before the last day of the month following each month in which tobacco products were acquired, an Other Tobacco Products Tax Declaration.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404

Localities may require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Maine Revenue Services: General FormsGeneral Forms
Application for Tax RegistrationTax Registration Application
Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Main Revenue Services: Sales, Fuel, & Special Tax Division: Cigarette & Tobacco Products Instructional BulletinExcise Taxl Bulletin #3
Tobacco Products Tax ReturnTax Return
Other Tobacco Products Tax DeclarationOTP Tax Declaration

Political Involvement

A “lobbyist” is a person who is specifically employed by another person for the purpose of and who engages in lobbying in excess of 8 hours in any calendar month, or any individual who, as a regular employee of another person, expends an amount of time in excess of 8 hours in any calendar month in lobbying.

Lobbyist” does not include a lobbyist associate.

Lobbyist” does not include an individual who receives no compensation for lobbying other than reimbursement for lobbying-related travel within Maine and reimbursement for other out-of-pocket expenditures made by the individual for printing, postage and food and lodging connected with lobbying activities paid for by the individual. “Reimbursement for other out-of-pocket expenditures” does not include reimbursement for the individual’s time spent lobbying that would have been otherwise compensated by an employer or in the course of the individual’s employment. 

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 312-A(10)

A “lobbyist associate” is an individual who:

  • Is a partner, associate, or employee of a lobbyist or is a co-employee of a regular employee of another person if that regular employee is registered as a lobbyist
  • Lobbies on behalf of the employer named on the lobbyist registration, and
  • Expends more than 8 hours in any calendar month lobbying on behalf of an employer of the lobbyist

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 312-A(10-A)

Lobbying” means to communicate directly with any official in the legislative branch or any official in the executive branch or with a constitutional officer for the purpose of influencing any legislative action or with the Governor or the Governor’s cabinet and staff for the purpose of influencing the approval or veto of a legislative action when reimbursement for expenditures or compensation is made for those activities.  

Lobbying” includes the time spent to prepare and submit to the Governor, an official in the legislative branch, an official in the executive branch, a constitutional officer or a legislative committee oral and written proposal for, or testimony or analyses concerning a legislative action.

Lobbying” does not include time spent by any person providing information to or participating in a subcommittee, stakeholder group, task force or other workgroup regarding a legislative action by the appointment or at the request of the Governor, a Legislator or legislative committee, a constitutional officer, a state agency commissioner or the chair of a state board or commission.

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 312-A(9)

Indirect lobbying” means to communicate with members of the general public to solicit them to communicate directly with any covered official for the purpose of influencing legislative action, other than legislation that is before the Legislature as a result of a direct initiative, when that solicitation is made by:

  • A broadcast, cable, or satellite transmission
  • A communication delivered by print media, or
  • A letter or other written communication delivered by mail or by comparable delivery service. E-mail is not considered a letter for the purposes of this definition

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 312-A(7-B)

Legislative action” means the drafting, introduction, consideration, modification, enactment or defeat of any bill, resolution, amendment, report, nomination or other matter by the Legislature, by either the House of Representatives or the Senate, any committee or an official in the Legislative Branch acting in his official capacity, or action of the Governor in approving or vetoing any legislative document presented to the Governor for his approval.

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 312-A(8)

Every employer of a lobbyist and every lobbyist and lobbyist associate who lobbies on behalf of that employer must register jointly with the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices no later than 15 business days after commencement of lobbying by filing a Lobbyist Registration Form and paying the associated fee ($200 for lobbyists and $100 for lobbyist associates). Registration can also be completed online through the e-filing system. Every registration expires at the end of the lobbying year (November 30th) and must be electronically renewed annually.

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 313: Registration of lobbyists and employers

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 314: Duration of registration


Every registered lobbyist is required to file monthly reports electronically through the e-filing system at the beginning of the month of registration through the end of the lobbying year (November 30th). Reports are due by 11:59 p.m. on the 15th day of the month following the month covered by the report. There are two types of monthly reports: long-form reports and short-form reports.

  • Long-form reports: If a registered lobbyist engages in any lobbying during a month, that activity must be reported in a long-form report. Lobbying activity includes all compensated time spent lobbying regardless of whether that time exceeds 8 hours a month. Information on the long-form report includes:
    • The amount of compensation received during the month
    • Other expenses incurred in the course of lobbying
    • Legislative actions and documents that were the subject of lobbying during the month, and
    • Money or things of value given to or on behalf of Legislators
  • Short-form reports: A short-form report may only be filed if a registered lobbyist has not done any lobbying during a month. By filing a short-form report, the lobbyist is affirming that no lobbying or services in support of lobbying were performed during the month.

3 Me. Rev. Stat. § 317

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics & Election Practices: Resources for LobbyistsLobbyist Resources
e-Filing System Registratione-Filing Registration
e-Filing System User Logine-Filing Login

Shipping Regulations

Maine prohibits delivery sales of most tobacco products. Tobacco products may not be shipped to anyone other than a licensed tobacco distributor or licensed tobacco retailer in Maine.  Only a licensed tobacco distributor or licensed tobacco retailer may accept the delivery of tobacco products in Maine. These provisions do not apply to the delivery sale of premium cigars to a consumer.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1555-F: Delivery sales of tobacco products; prohibition against delivery sales to consumers


With respect to delivery sales of premium cigars, it is unlawful for any person to accept an order for a delivery sale of premium cigars to a consumer in Maine unless that person is licensed as a tobacco retailer. 

No later than the 10th day of each calendar month, a tobacco retailer that has made a delivery sale of premium cigars or shipped or delivered premium cigars into the State in a delivery sale in the previous calendar month shall file with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Revenue Services a memorandum or a copy of each invoice that provides for each delivery sale the name and address of the purchaser and the brand or brands and quantity of premium cigars sold. 

22 Me. Rev. Stat. §1555-C: Delivery sales of premium cigars


The following provisions apply to a tobacco retailer shipping premium cigars pursuant to a delivery sale.

  • The tobacco retailer shall clearly mark the outside of the package of tobacco products to be shipped to indicate that the contents are tobacco products and to show the name and State of Maine tobacco license number of the tobacco retailer. Such marking shall, at a minimum, appear on the same plane of the package as the shipping label that identifies the delivery address.
  • The delivery instructions must clearly indicate the requirements of this subsection and must declare that state law requires compliance with the requirements.

10-144 Code Me. R. ch. 203, § 10: Rules Relating to the Sale and Delivery of Tobacco Product in Maine: Delivery Sales of Premium Cigars; Requirements for accepting order for the delivery sale


A person outside Maine who ships or transports tobacco products to a retailer in Maine must make an application as a distributor and be granted by the assessor a license.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4402: Licenses


A distributor may not sell or offer to sell tobacco products to a retailer unless the retailer has provided documentation to the distributor that the retailer holds a current retail tobacco license.

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404-B(2): Sales of tobacco products in contravention of law; shipment only to licensed retailers


Additional information about licensing in Maine is available under the Operating Your Business tab above.

Prior to shipping premium cigars pursuant to a delivery sale, the tobacco retailer shall verify the following information against a commercially available database derived solely from government records consisting of age and identity information, including the date of Birth.

  • A copy of a valid government-issued document that provides the person’s name, current address, photograph and date of birth and
  • An original written statement signed by the person documenting than the person:
    • Is of legal age to purchase tobacco products in the State
    • Understands that providing false information may constitute a violation of law
    • Understands that it is a violation of law to purchase premium cigars for subsequent resale or for delivery to persons who are under the legal age to purchase premium cigars

22 Me. Rev. Stat. § 1555-C: Delivery sales of premium cigars; Requirements for accepting order for the delivery sale

Maine imposes a tax on smokeless and other tobacco products purchased for sale in the state by any person engaged in the business of a tobacco product distributor. The tax is imposed at the time the distributor brings or causes to be brought into Maine tobacco products that are for sale to consumers or to retailers or for use or at the time tobacco products are manufactured or fabricated in Maine for sale in the state. Consumers in possession of untaxed tobacco products are liable for the tax.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4403


Staff reported that Maine localities do not levy additional tobacco product taxes.

A manufacturer may transport tobacco products into the state and may transport tobacco products from place to place within Maine in quantities greater than one pound for the purpose of marketing and sales if the sale or distribution of those tobacco products is accounted for and the taxes are paid by a person who is licensed.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404-A(2): Importation of tobacco products; manufacturers


A person who is not a licensed distributor may import or transport tobacco products other than cigars into Maine and transport those tobacco products from place to place within the state for personal use in a quantity not greater than one pound.  One may import or transport cigars into the state and transport those cigars from place to place within Maine for personal use in a quantity of no more than 125 cigars.

Untaxed tobacco products imported or transported into Maine in any quantity are subject to the tax imposed by section 4403.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404-A(3): Importation of tobacco products; exception for personal use


Every distributor subject to the licensing requirements shall file a return, on or before the last day of each month, reporting all tobacco products shipped or transported to retailers within the State during the preceding calendar month.  Every distributor shall keep a complete and accurate record at its principal place of business to substantiate all receipts and sales of tobacco products.

36 Me. Rev. Stat. § 4404: Returns; payment of tax and penalty


Disclaimer: PCA believes the information on this site is accurate. However, tobacco laws and regulations are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. Statements above are not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. PCA does not guarantee or assume responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of this information, nor that this information complies with all federal laws or the laws of all 50 states. Parties acknowledge and agree it is not the intention of PCA to provide specific legal advice for particular individuals, but rather to provide users with general information to better understand these issues. Users shall neither construe any of these materials as legal advice nor make this site the primary basis for any legal decisions made by or on your behalf and agree to release and waive any claims against PCA for the same. You shall consult with legal advisors concerning any contemplated individual decision.