Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan recently announced that his office settled violations of the state’s delivery sale law with three online electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) sellers. Since December 2020 and including these most recent settlements, the state has collected $472,500 from 13 companies for such violations, signaling the state’s growing desire to enforce this law against online ENDS sellers.

Vermont’s delivery sale law bans the online sale and shipment of cigarettes, roll-your-own tobacco, little cigars, snuff, tobacco substitutes, substances containing nicotine or otherwise intended for use with a tobacco substitute, or tobacco paraphernalia. Tobacco substitute and/or substances containing nicotine include ENDS. Notably, however, the delivery sale ban does not apply to premium cigars, cigars weighing more than 4.5 pounds per 1,000.

As illustrated by Attorney General Donovan’s recent announcements, aggressive enforcement of the delivery sale ban could result in substantial penalties for the unwary online retailer. The attorney general is authorized to seek a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $5,000 for each violation, and each shipment or transport of prohibited products constitutes a separate violation. The civil penalty could be in addition to criminal remedies, such as imprisonment for up to five years, a fine of $5,000, or both. Thus, online tobacco and ENDS retailers should beware of Vermont’s delivery sale ban and similar laws in other jurisdictions.

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Photo of Bryan Haynes Bryan Haynes

Bryan Haynes serves clients by developing and implementing creative solutions for complex issues. Specializing in tobacco industry regulatory compliance and enforcement matters, Bryan efficiently assists clients in complying with regulatory obligations and managing risk, consistent with clients’ business objectives.

Photo of Agustin Rodriguez Agustin Rodriguez

Agustin Rodriguez is a seasoned business counselor to regulated consumer products companies. Agustin brings years of experience managing in-house legal teams for a Fortune 200 international consumer packaged goods company, including complex litigation, tobacco and alcohol regulations and restrictions, international supply chain risk

Agustin Rodriguez is a seasoned business counselor to regulated consumer products companies. Agustin brings years of experience managing in-house legal teams for a Fortune 200 international consumer packaged goods company, including complex litigation, tobacco and alcohol regulations and restrictions, international supply chain risk management, internal investigations and corporate compliance, transactions and governance.

Photo of Chris Carlson Chris Carlson

Chris Carlson represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.

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Nicholas (Nick) Ramos draws on years of military leadership, project management, and legal experience to help clients solve difficult business problems from a legal perspective. He assists clients in navigating regulatory compliance issues, complex enforcement actions, and licensing that arise under both state…

Nicholas (Nick) Ramos draws on years of military leadership, project management, and legal experience to help clients solve difficult business problems from a legal perspective. He assists clients in navigating regulatory compliance issues, complex enforcement actions, and licensing that arise under both state and federal law.