Ohio

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Department of Taxation
Cigarette Tax Excise & Energy Tax Division 
(855) 466-3921
(206) 350-6722 fax

Office of the Legislative Inspector General
Joint Legislative Ethics Committee
(614) 728-5100

PCA Contact

David Jessup david@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Ohio imposes a tax on tobacco products purchased for sale in the state by any person or entity engaged in the business of tobacco product distribution. This tax is levied on tobacco products that a distributor brings, or causes to be brought, into the state for distribution within the state, or that any out-of-state distributor sells to wholesale or retail dealers located in the state for resale. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.51


An excise tax is levied on sellers of tobacco products who have continuous and widespread contacts with the state whenever the tobacco product is delivered to an in-state consumer for storage, use, or other consumption. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.62


If the above taxes have not been paid by the distributor or seller, then an excise tax is levied on the storage, use, or other consumption of the tobacco products. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.63


Tobacco samples are subject to the Ohio tobacco products tax, as the term “sale” includes exchange, barter, and gift.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01


Staff reported that Ohio localities do not levy additional taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes.

The tax on tobacco products other than little cigars is 17% of the wholesale price of the product.

The tax on little cigars is 37% of the wholesale price of the little cigars, for invoices dated October 1, 2013, or later.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.51

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.62

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.63


Ohio HB 166 (2019) levies a tax of $0.01 per vapor volume of the vapor products the first time the products are received by a vapor distributor in the state, to be paid by distributors, beginning October 1, 2019. If the vapor product is repackaged,  reconstituted, diluted, or reprocessed, the subsequent sale of that vapor product shall be considered another sale of the same article for purposes of computing the amount of tax due.

Ohio HB 166 (2019) also provides that the excise tax levied on the sellers of tobacco products applied only to sellers having substantial nexus with the state. Such sellers must register with the tax commissioner and supply any information concerning the seller’s contacts with this state as may be required by the tax commissioner. A seller who does not have substantial nexus in with this state may voluntarily register with the tax commissioner.

Each distributor of tobacco products subject to the tax levied by § 5743.51 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the 23rd day of each month, an Other Products Tax Return [Form OTP 2 (In-state) or Form OTP 6 (Out-of-state)] and all associated forms (Schedules A through I) for the preceding month, along with payment for the taxes due. A return must be filed for each month even if no tax is due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.52.


Each seller of tobacco products who is subject to the excise tax levied by § 5743.62 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the last day of each month, the Other Tobacco Products Tax Return for the preceding month, along with the taxes due. A return must be filed for each month even if no tax is due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.62.


Each person engaged in the storage, use, or consumption of tobacco products who is subject to the tax levied by § 5743.63 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the last day of each month, the Other Tobacco Products Tax Return for the preceding month, along with the taxes due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.63

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Ohio Department of Taxations: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
OTP Tax Return (In-State Distributors)Form OTP 2
OTP Tax Return (Out-of-State Distributors)Form OTP 6
Request to Transport OTP Between DistributorsForm OTP 99
OTP Schedules A – IForms OTP 3 – OTP 5, OTP 9 – OTP 11, and OTP 13 – OTP 15

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Smoking” means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted cigar, cigarette, pipe, or other lighted smoking devices for burning tobacco or any other plant.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.01(A)

Tobacco product” means any product that is made or  derived from tobacco or that contains any form of nicotine, if it 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, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, or snus. “Tobacco product” also means any component or accessory used in the consumption of a tobacco product, such as filters, rolling papers, pipes, blunt or hemp wraps, and liquids used in electronic smoking devices, whether or not they contain nicotine. “Tobacco product” does not include any product that is a drug, device, or combination product.

Ohio HB 166 (2019)

Little cigar” means any roll for smoking, other than cigarettes, made wholly or in part of tobacco that uses an integrated cellulose acetate filter or other filter and is wrapped in any substance containing tobacco, other than natural leaf tobacco.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(P)

Retail tobacco store” means a retail establishment that derives more than 80% of its gross revenue from the sale of cigars, cigarettes, pipes, or other smoking devices for burning tobacco and related smoking accessories and in which the sale of other products is merely incidental.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.01(H)

Retail dealer” includes, in reference to dealers in tobacco products, any person in the state engaged in the business of selling tobacco products to ultimate consumers in the state, regardless of quantity, amount, or the number of sales.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.01(C)

Distributor” means:

  1. Any manufacturer who sells, barters, exchanges, or distributes tobacco products to a retail dealer in the state, except when selling to a retail dealer that has filed with the manufacturer a signed statement agreeing to pay and be liable for the tax imposed by § 5743.51
  2. Any wholesale dealer located in the state who receives tobacco products from a manufacturer, or who receives tobacco products on which the tax imposed by this chapter has not been paid;
  3. Any wholesale dealer located outside the state who sells, barters, exchanges, or distributes tobacco products to a wholesale or retail dealer in the state; or
  4. Any retail dealer who receives tobacco products on which the tax has not or will not be paid by another distributor, including a retail dealer that has filed a signed statement with a manufacturer in which the retail dealer agrees to pay and be liable for the tax that would otherwise be imposed on the manufacturer by § 5743.51.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(K)

Seller” means any person located outside this state engaged in the business of selling tobacco products to consumers for storage, use, or other consumption in this state.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(M)

Manufacturer” means any person who manufactures and sells cigarettes or tobacco products.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(N)

Importer” means any person that is authorized, under a valid permit issued under Section 5713 of the Internal Revenue Code, to import finished cigarettes into the United States, either directly or indirectly.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(O)

Vapor product” means a product, other than a cigarette or other tobacco product, that contains or is made or derived from nicotine and that is intended and marketed for human consumption, including by smoking, inhaling, snorting, or sniffing. “Vapor product” includes any component, part, or additive that is intended for use in an electronic smoking device, a mechanical heating element, battery, or electronic circuit and is used to deliver the product. “Vapor product” does not include any product that is a drug, device, or combination product. “Vapor product” includes any product containing nicotine, regardless of concentration.  

Ohio HB 166 (2019) 

Electronic smoking device” means any component, part, or accessory of such a device, whether or not sold separately, that includes substance intended to be aerosolized or vaporized during the use of the device.

Ohio HB 166 (2019) 

Restrictions

Ohio state law prohibits smoking in or near the entrance or exit of public places and places of employment. This prohibition includes but is not limited to, any enclosed area the public is permitted to access and employer-controlled offices, meeting rooms, sales, production, and storage areas, restrooms, stairways, hallways, warehouses, garages, and vehicles. 

Ohio law allows localities to adopt and enforce stronger laws or regulations further restricting smoking.

The proprietor of a public place or place of employment must comply with the following requirements:

  • “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) must be conspicuously posted in every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited, including at each entrance to the public place or place of employment. Signs must be clearly legible to a person of normal vision throughout the areas they are intended to mark. All signs must contain a telephone number for reporting violations.
  • All ashtrays and other receptacles used for disposing of smoking materials shall be removed from any area where smoking is prohibited.

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.01: Definitions

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.02: Smoking Prohibitions

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.04: Construction; other applicable laws

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.06: Posting of signs; prohibition of ashtrays; responsibilities of proprietors

The following are exempt from the ban on smoking, subject to conditions: private residences, nursing homes, outdoor patios, designated hotel rooms, family-owned and operated businesses and retail tobacco stores that are the only business in a freestanding structure. To qualify under this exemption, retail tobacco stores and outdoor patios must ensure that smoke from the business does not migrate into an enclosed area where smoking is prohibited. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 3794.03

Retail Tobacco Store Information

The minimum age to use and buy tobacco products will become 21 statewide on October 1, 2019. However, it is not a violation for a child to accept or receive cigarettes, other tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or papers used to roll cigarettes if the child is required to do so in the performance of the child’s duties as an employee of that child’s employer and the child’s acceptance or receipt of cigarettes, other tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or papers used to roll cigarettes occurs exclusively within the scope of the child’s employment.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2151.87

Ohio HB 166 (2019)


Similarly, it is illegal to give, sell, or otherwise distribute cigarettes, other tobacco products, alternative nicotine products, or papers used to roll cigarettes to any person under the age of 21. Retail establishments that sell tobacco products must post signs indicating that state law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to any person under the age of 21. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 2927.02

Ohio HB 166 (2019)


Ohio state law contains no specific provisions concerning preemption of local youth access laws, so local communities may pass more stringent laws or ordinances in this area.

It is illegal to manufacture, sell, or distribute in the state any pack of cigarettes containing fewer than 20 cigarettes or any package of roll-your-own tobacco containing less than 0.6 ounces of tobacco. Selling cigarettes in a smaller quantity than that placed in the pack by the manufacturer is also unlawful.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2927.02(B)(4)-(B)(5)


Tobacco samples are subject to the tobacco products tax and licensing requirements, as the term “sale” is defined to include exchange, barter, gift, offer for sale, and distribution.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(D)


Ohio law contains no specific provisions concerning state preemption of local sampling laws, so local communities may pass more stringent laws or ordinances in this area.

Operating Your Business

Every person or entity engaged in the business of tobacco product distribution in Ohio must obtain a license from the department of taxation. To become a licensed distributor, each applicant must submit the Application for Other Tobacco Products Distributor License (Form OTP 1) to the tax commissioner annually, on or before February 1st. A separate application is required for each proposed business location, along with a $1,000 application fee per location. For new applications mailed after February 1st, the application fee is prorated. Licenses must be renewed annually by February 1st by filing Form OTP 1 and a $1,000 application fee.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.61


Each distributor of tobacco products subject to the tax levied by § 5743.51 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the 23rd day of each month, an Other Products Tax Return [Form OTP 2 (In-state) or Form OTP 6 (Out-of-state)] for the preceding month, along with payment for the taxes due. A return must be filed for each month even if no tax is due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.52.


Each seller of tobacco products who is subject to the excise tax levied by § 5743.62 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the last day of each month, the Other Tobacco Products Tax Return for the preceding month, along with the taxes due. A return must be filed for each month even if no tax is due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.62.


Each person engaged in the storage, use, or consumption of tobacco products who is subject to the tax levied by § 5743.63 must file with the tax commissioner, on or before the last day of each month, the Other Tobacco Products Tax Return for the preceding month, along with the taxes due. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.63


Each manufacturer or importer of tobacco products must register with the tax commissioner by filing a Registration for Manufacturer/Importer of Other Tobacco Products (Form OTP 8) before it sells or distributes tobacco products to distributors in the state. Manufacturers and importers must also file with the tax commissioner, on or before the last day of each month, the Other Tobacco Products Manufacturers Report (Form OTP 98) listing all sales of tobacco products to distributors located in the state during the preceding month. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.66.


Ohio HB 166 (2019) imposes an application fee for the license to engage solely in the business of distributing vapor products of $125 for each place listed on the application where the applicant proposes to carry on that business.

Localities may require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Ohio Department of Taxations: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
OTP Tax Return (In-State Distributors)Form OTP 2
OTP Tax Return (Out-of-State Distributors)Form OTP 6
Request to Transport OTP Between DistributorsForm OTP 99
OTP Schedules A – IForms OTP 3 – OTP 5, OTP 9 – OTP 11, and OTP 13 – OTP 15

Political Involvement

In Ohio, a “lobbyist” is a person who is compensated to advocate the interests of another before Ohio’s legislative and executive branches of government, and the state’s five retirement systems. The person or entity who compensates a lobbyist to advocate on its behalf is referred to as an employer.

The Ohio General Assembly Joint Legislative Ethics Committee: Office of the Legislative Inspector General

Based on the subject matter a lobbyist is attempting to influence, Ohio law categorizes lobbyists as either: legislative agents, executive agency lobbyists, or retirement system lobbyists.

A “legislative agent” is any individual, except a member of the generalassembly, a member of the staff of the general assembly, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer of state, or auditor of state, who is engaged during at least a portion of the individual’s time to actively advocate as one of the individual’s main purposes.

Ohio Rev. Code § 101.70(F)

An “executive agency lobbyist” is any person engaged to influence executive agency decisions or to conduct executive agency lobbying activity as one of the person’s main purposes on a regular and substantial basis.

Ohio Rev. Code § 121.60(H)

A “retirement system lobbyist” is any person engaged to influence retirement system decisions or to conduct retirement system lobbying activity as one of the person’s main purposes on a regular and substantial basis.

Ohio Rev. Code § 101.90(H)

The relationship between an employer and its lobbyist is called engagement. Every engagement must be registered electronically with the Office of the Legislative Inspector General through the Ohio Lobbying Activity Center (OLAC) within 10 days of the engagement. Legislative agents must file separate reports for each employer, but employers must file only one report that includes all employed legislative agents. Each engagement requires a $25 fee, and once registered, is active until terminated by the lobbyist or the employer, or until December 31st of an even-numbered year.

Ohio Rev. Code § 101.72


Three factors, when each is present, trigger a Lobbyist’s obligation to register an engagement:

  1. Compensation: The lobbyist must receive compensation for conducting lobbying activity
  2. Direct Communication: The lobbyist must directly communicate with a reportable person
  3. Amount of Compensated Time Lobbying:
    • Legislative Lobbying: 5% or more of the lobbyist’s time that is compensated by the employer must be spent conducting legislative lobbying activity.
    • Executive Agency Lobbying: 25% or more of the lobbyist’s time that is compensated by the employer must be spent conducting executive agency lobbying activity.

Ohio Lobbying Handbook


Each legislative agent and employer are also required to electronically file an Activity and Expenditure Report (AER) through OLAC on the following dates:

REPORT DUEReporting on activity for
May 31stJanuary 1 — April 20
September 30thMay 1 — August 31
January 31stSeptember 1 — December 31

Ohio Rev. Code § 101.72(B)

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
The Ohio General Assembly Joint Legislative Ethics Committee: Office of the Legislative Inspector GeneralOffice of the Legislative Inspector General
Ohio Lobbying Activity CenterLobbying Activity Center

Shipping Regulations

No person will transport within Ohio tobacco products that have a wholesale value in excess of $300 unless consent is obtained to transport the tobacco products from the tax commissioner prior to transportation. Consent is not required if applicable tax levied under 5743.515743.62, or 5743.63 has been paid by the distributor or seller. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.64: Consent to transport tobacco products within state required

Request to Transport Other Tobacco Products Between Distributors Form


On or before the last day of each month, every manufacturer or importer of tobacco product must file a report with the commissioner listing all sales of tobacco products to distributors located in the state during the preceding month. According to staff, this includes the shipment of the tobacco products from manufacturer to distributor.

Other Tobacco Products Manufacturer Report Form


Every person or entity engaged in the business of tobacco product distribution in Ohio must obtain a license from the department of taxation. To become a licensed distributor, each applicant must submit the Application for Other Tobacco Products Distributor License (Form OTP 1) to the tax commissioner annually, on or before February 1st. A separate application is required for each proposed business location, along with a $1,000 application fee per location.

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.61

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.01(K): Definitions; distributor


Additional information about licensing in Ohio is available under the Operating Your Business and Definitions tab above.

No manufacturer, producer, distributor, wholesaler, or retailer of other tobacco products shall give, sell, or otherwise distribute tobacco products over the internet or through another remote method without age verification.

Ohio Rev. Code § 2927.02(B)(6): Illegal distribution of or permitting children to use cigarettes or other tobacco or alternative nicotine products

Ohio imposes a tax on tobacco products purchased for sale in the state by any person or entity engaged in the business of tobacco product distribution. This tax is levied on tobacco products that a distributor brings, or causes to be brought, into the state for distribution within the state, or that any out-of-state distributor sells to wholesale or retail dealers located in the state for resale. 

Ohio Rev. Code § 5743.51


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.