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Environmental Health Services

Tobacco Retailer Permits

Philadelphia City Council passed an ordinance on June 9, 2011 that requires all retailers that sell any type of tobacco product (cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, snuff, snus, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, bidis, and electronic cigarettes) to obtain a tobacco permit.

This ordinance became effective January 1, 2012, under Amended Chapter 9-600 of the Philadelphia Code, entitled “Service and Other Businesses.”

This permit enables us to monitor tobacco retailers and ensure that they are complying with the applicable laws.

Retailers that sell cigarettes and/or little cigars are required to have both the Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Permit and a Cigarette Dealer License from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue.

Retailers that sell any other type of tobacco products are only required to have the Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Permit. Owners of establishments in which cigarette vending machines are located are also responsible for obtaining a permit.

  • The Tobacco Retailer Permit is valid for one calendar year effective January 1st and will expire on December 31st of the same year.
  • The permit fee is $50. The annual renewal fee is $50.
  • Retailers must prominently display the Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Permit at each location where they engage in tobacco sales.
  • The permit is not transferable, so that if there is a change of ownership or location, a new permit is required.

Any retailer that is selling tobacco without a valid Tobacco Retailer Permit will be fined $75 per day.

If you have any questions, please contact Jody Wilkins at 215-685-7340.

Links
  • Tobacco Retailer Permit Application
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Specialty Tobacco Establishment Exception Form
  • Tobacco Products Distribution Business Exception
  • Fact Sheet about Electronic Cigarettes
  • Information for Merchants about Electronic Cigarettes