Beginning Jan. 1, Montana retailers will need a new state license to sell alternative nicotine and vapor products, and they won’t be able to sell to people younger than 18, according to the state Department of Revenue.

Agency officials said Wednesday they are mailing 1,800 postcards to retailers statewide reminding them they need a new Alternative Nicotine or Vapor Products License to sell e-cigarettes, vaping mods, vaping juice and other related equipment.

The license costs $5 and can be renewed annually. There is no limit to the number of licenses sold, said Mary Ann Dunwell, spokeswoman for the Department Revenue.

The license requirement was a part of Montana Senate Bill 66, introduced by Attorney General Tim Fox, a Republican, and sponsored by Democratic Sen. Diane Sands of Missoula.

The legislation was in response to the explosive growth of e-cigarettes, which burn nicotine-laced vapors. Health advocates have worried the sweet juices are marketed to children and are largely unregulated.

Retailers who don’t obtain a license are subject to a $100 fine. Revenue officials say they don’t think the license is too onerous.

“We want to keep things within a manageable arena for public health and safety reason. It’s the same reason that we license tobacco, and that we give you a driver’s license,” Dunwell said.

In Billings, e-cigarettes are sold in dozens of convenience stores citywide. About a half-dozen specialty stores have also popped up in Billings in the past two years, selling a variety of flavors of sweet vapor juice and other paraphernalia.

Information on the retail license is available at