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Tobacco Retailer Permits

The Philadelphia Code requires retailers to obtain permits for the sale of any type of tobacco product. This includes cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, snuff, snus, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, bidis, and electronic cigarettes. This permit allows us to monitor tobacco retailers and ensure they comply with applicable laws.

To submit a Philadelphia Tobacco Permit application, click here.

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

Permit Requirements

  • 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 with cigarette vending machines are also required to obtain a permit.
  • The permit is valid for one calendar year, effective January 1. The permit will expire on December 31 of the same year.
  • The permit application fee is $300. The annual renewal fee is $300.
  • Retailers must prominently display the permit at each location where they sell tobacco products.
  • The permit is not transferable. A new permit is required for each change of ownership or location.

In December 2016, the Board of Health approved an additional regulation concerning tobacco retailing in Philadelphia.

To review the regulation, click here.

For information about Special Designations, click here.

To review the Board of Health’s report on the October 2016 public hearing on the regulation, click here.


Any retailer selling tobacco without a valid Tobacco Retailer Permit will be fined $75 per day. After a third youth sales violation in two years, tobacco sales will be suspended for a year.

Resources for Tobacco Retailers

Applications and Forms

Preventing Tobacco and E-Cigarette Sales to Minors

To prevent nicotine addiction and protect our youth and young adults from serious health harms, the sale of tobacco products and e-cigarettes to anyone under 18 years of age is against the law.

No Smoking or Use of E-Cigarettes Indoors

Philadelphia’s Clean Indoor Air Worker Protection Law provides all Philadelphians with clean, fresh air to breathe in the indoor and outdoor spaces in which they work, study, dine, relax, and recreate.

Sign Control Law

The Philadelphia Code limits the amount of window or transparent door space that can be covered with signs in retail settings. These regulations help to beautify neighborhoods by removing excessive signage and enhance safety by improving sightlines in and out of stores.

Tobacco Retailer Density by Planning District

Use this map to look up your planning district.

Tobacco retailer density as of February 27, 2017
Planning District Total Retailers 2014 Daytime Population Retailers per 1,000 Daytime Population
Central 268 319,572 0.84
Central Northeast 59 71,633 0.82
Lower Far Northeast 46 68,426 0.67
Lower North 269 90,808 2.96
Lower Northeast 179 85,406 2.10
Lower Northwest 37 41,943 0.88
Lower South 12 26,049 0.46
Lower Southwest 84 33,351 2.52
North 439 142,081 3.09
North Delaware 109 74,378 1.47
River Wards 154 61,217 2.52
South 312 112,920 2.76
University/Southwest 151 127,378 1.19
Upper Far Northeast 40 59,984 0.67
Upper North 239 124,344 1.92
Upper Northwest 116 69,846 1.66
West 274 85,426 3.21
West Park 46 43,341 1.06

Tobacco-Free School Zones

Each Philadelphia planning district has a population-based limit on the number of available tobacco retailer permits. Tobacco-free school zones also prohibit new tobacco retailer permits within 500 feet (approximately 2 blocks) of any K-12 school. Properly issued permits will be grandfathered.

Use this map to locate tobacco-free school zones in Philadelphia.