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Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco Products

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Tobacco Retail Licensing - Policy

Published on December 19, 2018. Last modified on July 06, 2020


Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco 



TRL Policy antonio outside

It has been illegal to sell tobacco products to youth in California since the early 1900's. Due to continuous illegal sales of tobacco to youth and lack of resources local governments have adopted local Tobacco Retail License Ordinances to enforce tobacco youth access laws. Additionally, the introduction of new tobacco products has raised new challenges in keeping youth away from a lifelong addiction to nicotine.

In California, 144 communities have adopted strong local tobacco retailer license ordinances in an effort to reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. Strong ordinances include the  following four components:

  • An annual license that all retailers must obtain in order to sell tobacco products
  • A license fee to sufficiently fund an effective program including an enforcement plan
  • A provision that a violation of any existing local, state or federal tobacco regulation violates the license
  • A financial deterrent through fines and penalties including the suspension and revocation of the license

We provide resources to local jurisdictions interested in pursuing a local tobacco retail license ordinance. Currently, the unincorporated areas and the cities of Carmel, Monterey, Salinas and Gonzales have adopted Tobacco Retail License Ordinances.  For more information on existing Tobacco Retail License Ordinances please click here.

Additional Resources:

The Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing - Questions on Flavored Tobacco products 

The Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing -Tobacco Retail Environment

ChangeLab Solutions - Tobacco Prevention

Public Health Law Center - Retail Policy and Licensure

Newsworthy Media:

Monterey County Weekly -  Smoke Signals: The Health Department and schools tackle vaping as the habit rises among youth 


Healthy Retail Environment



TRL policy

The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign is a statewide collaboration between tobacco and alcohol use prevention, sexually transmitted disease prevention, and nutrition partners. The goal is to improve the health of Californians through changes in community stores and to educate people on how in-store product marketing influences the consumption of unhealthy products. Working together, we can make healthier communities while maintaining vibrant businesses. For more information on Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community click here.






Contact Information: 

Gonzalo Coronado