Tobacco Retail Licensing
What is tobacco retail licensing?
Tobacco retail licenses are issued at the state level through the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. Many counties and cities also have local ordinances requiring a license to sell tobacco products. In California, at least 219 cities and counties have local tobacco retail licensing ordinances. These ordinances help to provide the local structure for enforcement, as well as funding for tobacco retailer education and compliance checks.
Why would tobacco retail licensing be good for Humboldt County?
In Humboldt County, 34% of all deaths are attributed to tobacco use according to the Humboldt County Lung, Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Tobacco Use Mortality Data Report(PDF). This is a tremendous loss for our community, and it is preventable. Policies like tobacco retail licensing give jurisdictions a way to control the availability of tobacco products to protect the public’s health. According to the Surgeon General, tobacco retail licensing is an effective way to reduce tobacco use. Reducing access to tobacco reduces tobacco use among youth and adults.
In Humboldt County, 39% of high school students report having used a commercial tobacco product in their lifetime, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) 2019-2021 (PDF). According to CHKS, 25% of ninth graders have used a vape product, and 67% of 11th graders stated it was fairly easy to obtain e-cigarette products.
In a recent youth purchase survey in unincorporated Humboldt County, underaged individuals reported that they were able to purchase tobacco products at more than 50% of the stores where they attempted to make purchases. Information provided by Tobacco-Free North Coast & Communities Against Nicotine with the Health and Social Policy Institute (HASPI). Download NorCal4Health's PDF flyer here.
Local enforcement allows for better compliance with current laws such as selling tobacco to youth under age 21 or selling flavored tobacco products, which are now illegal to sell in the state of California per SB 793.
Tobacco Retail Licensing Ordinance
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors enacted a Tobacco Retail Licensing Ordinance on July 11, 2023, for unincorporated Humboldt County. The purpose of this ordinance is to reduce the availability of tobacco for youth in the community and enforce local, state and federal tobacco laws.
The ordinance prohibits tobacco retailers from selling tobacco products within unincorporated Humboldt County without first obtaining a valid tobacco retailer’s license.
Stake Act Sign
As of December 20, 2019, the federal age of sale for tobacco products is 21 with no exemption for military personnel.
This age-of-sale sign meets legal requirements for the wording, font size and size of the sign. Printing Instructions: Please print this sign at 100%. Do not reduce or enlarge the size of this sign. This sign is 8.5” wide by 3.66” high. Do not print this sign using the “Fit”, ”Shrink oversized pages” or “Custom Scale” options in the print dialogue box. Download and post this sign at each cash register. This is a temporary sign to be used until the printed signs are mailed to you or an educator provides one to you. If you need a sign, please contact Tobacco-Free Humboldt at email@example.com or call 707-268-2132.