Tobacco Retailer Permit
The City of Philadelphia requires all tobacco retailers to obtain permits for the retail sale of tobacco products and certain other products containing nicotine.
Tobacco products are any substances containing tobacco leaf, including without limitations cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah, snuff, snus, chewing tobacco, dip tobacco, and bidis, or any other preparation of tobacco. This permit also applies to the retail sale of electronic smoking devices, which simulates tobacco smoking, and Unapproved Nicotine Delivery Products. Unapproved Nicotine Delivery Products are products, other than an electronic smoking device or a tobacco product, containing or delivering nicotine intended or expected for human consumption, or any part of such a product, that has not been approved or otherwise certified for sale by the United States Food and Drug Administration as a tobacco use cessation product, or for other medical purposes.
The Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer permit is valid for one calendar year starting January 1st and expires on December 31st of each year.
No person may act as a Tobacco Retailer without a current Tobacco Retailer Permit for each location where the person engages in Tobacco Retailing. Stores with multiple locations will need an individual Tobacco Retailer permit for each location. If retailers fail to have a permit, they will be fined $75 per violation; each day that a tobacco retailer engages in tobacco retailing is considered a separate violation.
For cigarette and little cigar retailers, the new Tobacco Retailer Permit will be required in addition to having a valid Cigarette Dealer License from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. Retailers that do not sell cigarettes and little cigars, but sell other forms of tobacco and other products containing nicotine, are required to have the Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Permit only.
The annual fee is $50.
Apply for a Tobacco Retailer Permit Application
Tobacco Retailer Permit Application
Tobacco Retailer Permit FAQ
Tobacco Retailer Permit FAQ (Spanish)
Tobacco Retailer Permit FAQ (Chinese)
Tobacco Products Distribution Business Exception Form
Specialty Tobacco Establishment Exception Form
Additional Tobacco Retailer Information:
Store owners are responsible for illegal sales made by their employees.
The Philadelphia Department of Public Health checks that stores do not sell tobacco to minors. These checks are called "tobacco compliance check" A tobacco compliance check is conducted by an adult and a youth who is under 18 years-old. The minor enters the store and uses his/her actual ID to attempt to purchase tobacco. If a sale occurs, a ticket will be issued within a few days.
Preventing Youth Tobacco Sales FAQ
City of Philadelphia, Department of Public Health
Environmental Health Services
321 University Avenue, 2nd Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4543