Virginia

Alerts & Updates

Key Contacts

Virginia Department of Taxation
Tobacco Unit
(804) 371-0730

PCA Contact

Rachel Hall rachel@premiumcigars.org

Legislative Information

Taxation

Virginia imposes a tax on tobacco products purchased for sale in the Commonwealth by any person engaged in the business of a tobacco product distributor. The “tobacco products tax” is imposed on tobacco products a distributor brings into the Commonwealth for sale in the Commonwealth; makes manufactures, or fabricates in the Commonwealth for sale in the Commonwealth, or ships or transports to retailer dealers in the Commonwealth to be sold by those retail dealers in the Commonwealth. It is imposed on the distributor at the time the distributor sells the tobacco products to a retail dealer located in Virginia. Retail dealers in possession of untaxed tobacco products are also liable for the tax.

In addition, each tobacco manufacturer that ships tobacco products to any person located in the Commonwealth must file an annual report with the Department of Taxation. 

Va. Code § 58.1-1021 et seq.

Virginia Department of Taxation


Staff reported that Virginia localities do not impose additional taxes on tobacco products other than cigarettes.

Tobacco producttobacco products tax
Moist Snuff$0.18 per ounce based on the net weight of the package
Loose-leaf tobacco productsRates based on the weight of each unit:
$0.21 for each unit less than 4 oz
$0.40 for each unit between 4 oz — 8 oz
$0.70 for each unit more than 8 oz and less than 24 oz
$0.21 for each unit more than 24 oz + $0.21 for each 4-oz increment that exceeds 16 oz
All other tobacco products, including:
Cigars, Pipe Tobacco, Dry Snuff, Plug, Twist, and Roll-Your-Own Tobaccos
10% of the manufacturer’s sales price 
Loose-leaf tobacco productsRates based on the weight of each unit:
$0.21 for each unit less than 4 oz
$0.40 for each unit between 4 oz — 8 oz
$0.70 for each unit more than 8 oz and less than 24 oz
$0.21 for each unit more than 24 oz + $0.21 for each 4-oz increment that exceeds 16 oz
All other tobacco products, including:
Cigars, Pipe Tobacco, Dry Snuff, Plug, Twist, and Roll-Your-Own Tobaccos
10% of the manufacturer’s sales price

Va. Code § 58.1-1021.02

Virginia Department of Taxation


Virginia HB 1722 (2019) requires a remote seller to collect sales and use tax if the seller has more than $100,000 in annual gross revenue from sales in Virginia or at least 200 sales transactions in Virginia and requires a marketplace facilitator, which enables marketplace sellers to sell in Virginia through its marketplace, to collect sales and use tax if its annual gross revenue from facilitated sales in Virginia exceeds $100,000 or it facilitates at least 200 sales transactions in Virginia.

The measure provides that the obligation of remote sellers and marketplace facilitators to collect sales and use tax shall not apply to transactions occurring before July 1, 2019.

Distributors registered for the tobacco products tax are also required to file a monthly Virginia Tobacco Products Tax Return (Form TT-8) on or before the 20th day of each month, along with payment for taxes due.

Form TT-8 must be filed every month, even if no tax is due.

The return for each period becomes delinquent on the 21st day of the succeeding month if not paid.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Virginia Department of Taxation: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Tobacco Products Tax Guidelines and RulesTT-22
Application for Cigarette Stamping Permit and Tobacco Products Tax Distributor’s LicenseForm TT-1
Virginia Tobacco Products Tax Return and InstructionsTT-8

Cigar and Smoking Tobacco Definitions

Virginia code defines “smoke” or “smoking” as the carrying or holding of any lighted pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind, or any other lighted smoking equipment, or the lighting, inhaling, or exhaling of smoke from a pipe, cigar, or cigarette of any kind.

Va. Code § 15.2-2820

Loose-leaf tobacco” is defined to mean any leaf tobacco that is not intended to be smoked, but it does not include moist snuff. Loose-leaf tobacco weight unit categories are as follows:

  1. “Loose-leaf tobacco half pound-unit” means a consumer-sized unit, pouch, or package containing at least 4 ounces but no more than 8 ounces of loose leaf tobacco, by net weight, produced by the manufacturer to be sold to consumers as a single unit and not produced to be divided or sold separately and containing one individual package.
  2. Loose leaf tobacco pound-unit” means a consumer-sized unit, pouch, or package containing more than 8 ounces of loose-leaf tobacco, by net weight, produced by the manufacturer to be sold to consumers as a single unit and not produced to be divided or sold separately and containing one individual package.
  3. Loose leaf tobacco single-unit” means a consumer-sized unit, pouch, or package containing less than 4 ounces of loose-leaf tobacco, by net weight, produced by the manufacturer to be sold to consumers as a single unit and not produced to be divided or sold separately and containing one individual package.

Va. Code § 58.1-1021.01

Loose-leaf tobacco” means any leaf tobacco that is not intended to be smoked, but shall not include moist snuff

26 U.S.C. § 5702(n)

Tobacco product” or “tobacco products” is defined to mean (i) “cigar;” (ii) “smokeless tobacco;” or (iii) “pipe tobacco,” as these terms are defined in the Internal Revenue Code.  “Tobacco products” also include loose-leaf tobacco.

Va. Code § 58.1-1021.01

Cigar” means any roll of tobacco wrapped in leaf tobacco or in any substance containing tobacco (other than any roll of tobacco which is a cigarette within the meaning of subsection (b)(2)). 

26 U.S.C. § 5702(a)

Smokeless tobacco”is defined as any snuff or chewing tobacco.  

26 U.S.C. § 5702(m)

Snuff” is defined as any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco that is not intended to be smoked. 

26 U.S.C. § 5702(m)

Chewing tobacco”is defined as any leaf tobacco that is not intended to be smoked. 

26 U.S.C. § 5702(m)

The term “pipe tobacco” means any tobacco which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling, is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco to be smoked in a pipe.

26 U.S.C. § 5702(n)

Roll-your-own tobacco” means any tobacco which, because of its appearance, type, packaging, or labeling is suitable for use and likely to be offered to, or purchased by, consumers as tobacco for making cigarettes

26 U.S.C. § 5702(n)

Moist snuff” is as any finely cut, ground, or powdered tobacco that is not intended to be smoked but does not include any tobacco intended to be placed in the nasal cavity. Moist snuff includes items such as snus and dissolvable tobacco products.

26 U.S.C. § 5702(n)

Distributor” means:

  1. Any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products in Virginia who brings, or causes to be brought, into Virginia from outside Virginia any tobacco products for sale;
  2. Any person who makes, manufactures, fabricates, or stores tobacco products in Virginia for sale in Virginia;
  3. Any person engaged in the business of selling tobacco products outside Virginia who ships or transports tobacco products to any person in the business of selling tobacco products in Virginia; or
  4. Any retail dealer in possession of untaxed tobacco products in Virginia.

Va. Code § 58.1-1021.01

Alternative nicotine product” means any noncombustible product containing nicotine that is not made of tobacco and is intended for human consumption, whether chewed, absorbed, dissolved, or ingested by any other means.

Alternative nicotine product” does not include any nicotine vapor product or any product regulated as a drug or device.

Virginia SB 1371 (2019)

Heated tobacco product” means a product that produces vapor or aerosol from the application of heat to tobacco, without combustion of the tobacco. 

Virginia SB 1371 (2019)

Liquid nicotine” means a liquid or other substance containing nicotine in any concentration that is sold, marketed, or intended for use in a nicotine vapor product.

Virginia SB 1371 (2019)

Nicotine vapor product” means any noncombustible product containing nicotine that employs a heating element, power source, electronic circuit, or other electronic, chemical, or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, that can be used to produce vapor from nicotine in a solution or other form.

Nicotine vapor product” includes any electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or similar product or device and any cartridge or other container of nicotine in a solution or other form that is intended to be used with or in an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe, or similar product or device.

Virginia SB 1371 (2019)

Restrictions

Virginia state law prohibits smoking in public elevators, public restrooms, public schools, and school buses, licensed daycare centers, hospital emergency rooms, and restrooms, local health departments, polling places, indoor cashier and service lines while pumping or delivering gasoline and while near a medical oxygen source in a health care facility. The smoking ban applies to both hookah lounges and cigar bars if they prepare and serve food. Smoking is also restricted to separately enclosed, separately ventilated rooms/areas in restaurants. By executive order, smoking is prohibited in offices and buildings occupied by executive branch agencies and institutions, including institutions of higher education. 

Va. Code § 15.2-2824: Prohibitions on smoking, generally

Va. Code § 15.2-2825: Smoking in restaurants prohibited

Va. Code § 18.2-511.1: Smoking in proximity to medical oxygen source in a health care facility

Va. Code § 46.2-819.4: Smoking in proximity to gas pumps


Local laws enacted prior to January 1, 1990 are not preempted. In addition, local ordinances adopted after January 1, 1990, cannot contain provisions that exceed state smoking restrictions.

Va. Code § 15.2-2828


Virginia SB 1304 (2019) measure allows for smoking restrictions in outdoor amphitheaters. This measure authorizes any locality, by ordinance, to designate reasonable no-smoking areas within an outdoor amphitheater or concert venue owned by the locality. Adequate signage must be present in the designated areas.

The following are exempt from the ban on smoking:

  • Tobacco stores
  • Tobacco warehouses
  • Tobacco manufacturing facilities
  • Private clubs
  • Operations that prepare food for catering services
  • Pushcart operations
  • Hotdog stands or other mobile points of service
  • Any outdoor area of a restaurant, with or without a roof covering, provided the outdoor area is not enclosed by temporary enclosures

Smoking may also be permitted in any portion of a restaurant that is constructed so that the smoking area is:

  1. Structurally separated from the portion of the restaurant in which smoking is prohibited and to which entrance and exit is through a door; and
  2. Separately vented to prevent the recirculation of air from such area to the area of the restaurant where smoking is prohibited. At least one public entrance to the restaurant must be into an area of the restaurant where smoking is prohibited.

Va. Code § 15.2-2821

Va. Code § 15.2-2825


Hookah lounges and cigar bars are exempt from the smoking ban if they do not prepare or serve food, serve only pre-packaged foods and bottled or canned drinks, and comply with the law by modifying the structure so the smoking area is structurally separate from the non-smoking areas and vent the smoking area to prevent re-circulation of air from the smoking area into the non-smoking area.

Virginia Department of Health: Restaurants and Smoking in Virginia FAQs


Virginia law does not provide a specific application procedure to qualify for exemption from the smoking ban. Localities may have specific requirements.

Individuals under the age of 21 cannot purchase, attempt to purchase or possess any tobacco product, nicotine vapor product, or alternative nicotine product. However, this prohibition does not apply to the possession of tobacco products by a person less than 21 years of age making a delivery of tobacco products in pursuance of their employment. 

It is also illegal to sell to, distribute to, purchase for or knowingly permit the purchase by any person less than 18 years of age, knowing or having reason to believe that such person is less than 18 years of age, any tobacco product, including cigarettes, cigars, bidis, and wrappings.

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. 

Va. Code § 18.2-371.2


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

Staff reported that tobacco samples are taxed at the same rate as other tobacco products in Virginia.

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

Operating Your Business

Anyone who is engaged in the business of selling other tobacco products (“OTP”) in Virginia who imports OTP from outside Virginia, or manufacturers or stores OTP in Virginia, or any Virginia retail dealer in possession of untaxed OTP, must apply for and receive a license to legally conduct an OTP business in Virginia.

To become a licensed OTP distributor, applicants must:

  • File an Application for Cigarette Stamping Permit and Tobacco Products Tax Distributor’s License (Form TT-1)
  • File the associated personal data form (Schedule A)
  • Remit a $600 application fee

A criminal background check will be conducted on the principal operatives of the company, and applicants should allow at least 90 days for processing of their applications and the issuance of their licenses. A Tobacco Products Tax Distributor’s license is valid for three (3) years from the date of issue.

Distributors registered for the tobacco products tax are also required to file a monthly Virginia Tobacco Products Tax Return (Form TT-8) on or before the 20th of every month, along with payment for taxes due. Form TT-8 must be filed every month, even if no tax is due. The return for each period becomes delinquent on the 21st of the succeeding month if not paid.

Localities may require additional business licenses.

Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Virginia Department of Taxation: Tobacco Tax FormsTobacco Tax Forms
Tobacco Products Tax Guidelines and RulesTT-22
Application for Cigarette Stamping Permit and Tobacco Products Tax Distributor’s LicenseForm TT-1
Virginia Tobacco Products Tax Return and InstructionsTT-8

Political Involvement

In Virginia, a lobbyist is any individual who is employed in any manner or who is reimbursed for expenses, or who represents an organization, association or other groups for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative action through oral or written communication with an executive or legislative official; this includes anyone who solicits others to influence an executive or legislative official.

State law defines lobbying as:

  1. Influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative action through oral or written communication with an executive or legislative official; or
  2. Solicitation of others to influence an executive or legislative official.

Lobbying does not mean:

  1. Requests for appointments, information on the status of pending executive and legislative actions, or other ministerial contacts if there is no attempt to influence executive or legislative actions;
  2. Responses to published notices soliciting public comment submitted to the public official designated in the notice to receive the responses;
  3. The solicitation of an association by its members to influence legislative or executive action; or
  4. Communications between an association and its members and communications between a principal and its lobbyists.

Va. Code § 2.2-419

Virginia law requires registration with the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth prior to engaging in lobbying unless a person satisfies one of the exemptions set forth in statute.

Lobbyist registrations are required annually and expire April 30.

Your lobbyist registration must be received and approved prior to engaging in lobbying activity. A lobbyist who engages in lobbying entirely outside the capital city must register with the Secretary within fifteen (15) days after first engaging in lobbying. Registration is required annually and expires May 1 of each year.

In addition, Lobbyist disclosure forms are required to be filed semi-annually as follows:

  • by December 15 (to disclose activity from May 1 — October 31)
  • by June 15 (to disclose activity from November 1 — April 30) 
Form Type / NameForm Number / Link
Code of Virginia: Va. Code § 2.2-418 et seq., Lobbyist Registration ActVa. Code § 2.2-418 et seq., Lobbyist Registration Act
Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council: Lobbyists Registration, Guide and FormsLobbyists

Shipping Regulations

Virginia does not have any restrictions on the shipping of tobacco products. 

As a matter of state law, it is unlawful to import, transport, or possess for resale any tobacco products in the Commonwealth without a permit. Therefore, all distributors of “Other Tobacco Products” in Virginia are required to obtain a Distributors License from The Virginia Department of Taxation.  

Va. Code § 58.1-1021.04:3 Unlawful importation, transportation, or possession of tobacco products; civil penalty


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

Virginia does not have any specific age verification requirements for the shipping of tobacco products to consumers. 

Virginia imposes a tax on tobacco products purchased for sale in the Commonwealth by any person engaged in the business of a tobacco product distributor.

With respect to shipping, the “tobacco products tax” is imposed on tobacco products a distributor brings into the Commonwealth for sale in the Commonwealth, or ships or transports to retailer dealers in the Commonwealth to be sold by those retail dealers in the Commonwealth. It is imposed on the distributor at the time the distributor sells the tobacco products to a retail dealer located in Virginia. Retail dealers in possession of untaxed tobacco products are also liable for the tax. 

In addition, each tobacco manufacturer who ships tobacco products to any person located in the Commonwealth must file an annual report with the Department of Taxation. The report is due on or before February 20th of each year. 

The report must identify the following information:

  • Name and addresses of persons in the Commonwealth to whom shipments of tobacco products (excluding cigarettes) were made during the previous year.
  • Type, brand, and quantity of the products shipped to each recipient.
  • For tobacco products taxed based on weight, such as moist snuff and loose-leaf tobacco, the report must also include both the total units and weight of each tobacco product shipped to each recipient. 

§ 58.1-1021.01: Definitions

§ 58.1-1021.02: Tax on tobacco products

§ 58.1-1021.03: Monthly return and payments of tax

§ 58.1-1021.04: Failure to file a return; fraudulent return; penalties; interest; overpayment of tax

§ 58.1-1021.04:1 Distributor’s license; 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.