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. 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 in order 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, and 1 in 5 report they have used a commercial tobacco product in the last 30 days. Tobacco retail licensing allows for local enforcement of underage sales. In Humboldt County, youth are accessing tobacco in local stores. In a recent youth purchase survey, under-aged youth reported that they were able to purchase tobacco products at more than 50 % of the stores at which they attempted to make purchases. Local enforcement allows for better compliance with existing 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.