Philadelphia Code § 9-631 requires a local permit for the sale of tobacco in Philadelphia. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, hookah, and any other combustible or smokeless tobacco. It also includes electronic smoking devices, e-cigarettes, and any other vaping product. Retailers must display the permit at the permitted location.
The tobacco retailer permit allows the Department of Public Health to monitor tobacco retailers and ensure they follow the law. Most tobacco retailers in Philadelphia must also have tobacco-specific licenses from the PA Department of Revenue.
Note: As of December 18, 2019, it is illegal in Philadelphia to sell or offer for sale: (1) restricted electronic smoking devices, and (2) flavored cigars, cigarillos, and roll-your-own tobacco.
You can read a message to retailers about these laws.
You can also review the current list of unrestricted electronic smoking devices, which tells you how to submit requests to add unrestricted products and how to apply for an adults-only license exempting you from the electronic smoking device restriction.
If your business is an adults-only tobacco retailer generating 90% of its revenue from tobacco, email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply for an exemption from the flavored cigar restriction.
All retailers who sell tobacco products or electronic smoking devices of any kind in Philadelphia must have a permit.
A tobacco retailer permit is issued to one person at one fixed location. Only certain locations are eligible for new tobacco retailer permits. You can search location eligibility for new permits. Renewal applications are not subject to these location restrictions.
Tobacco retailer permits may not be transferred to a new owner or location. If your business moves or changes owners, you must apply for a new permit.
You may receive a cease sales order or become ineligible for a tobacco retailer permit if you sell to youth or sell illegal tobacco products multiple times.
Selling tobacco without a permit carries a fine of $75 per day and may be subject to additional enforcement action.
The application fee is $300 for each new and renewal application.
Applying for a new Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING APPLYING FOR A PHILADELPHIA TOBACCO RETAILER PERMIT:
Applications for all Tobacco Retailer Permits will be delayed. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) is updating the software used to process permit applications.
If you are interested in a Tobacco Retailer Permit, please email any questions to: Health.PTRD@phila.gov.
Applying to renew a Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit
IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING RENEWAL OF PHILADELPHIA TOBACCO RETAILER PERMIT:
Your 2023 Tobacco Retailer Permit Renewal is due by December 31, 2022. Renewal applications will not be accepted after December 31, 2022. If you fail to submit a renewal application by December 31, you will be ineligible for a permit renewal and will be required to apply for a new Tobacco Retailer Permit. Retailers who fail to submit a renewal application by the December 31 deadline will no longer be eligible for exemptions to school zone and retailer density restrictions and must meet all other applicable licensing requirements.
The renewal application process has been modified. To submit your renewal permit application visit https://philadph.formstack.com/forms/tobacco_permitting. You will need your 2022 Philadelphia Tobacco Retailer Permit Number and Philadelphia Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) number to complete the application.
Please email any questions to: Health.PTRD@phila.gov.