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Permits, violations & licenses

Get a tobacco retailer permit

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 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

Tobacco retailer permit applications are only accepted online. Here are a few things to get before you start:

Apply online

Applying to renew a Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit

Only current tobacco retailer permit holders may apply for renewal. Permits must be renewed each year.

Annual renewal due date: November 1

Renewal grace period (with $50 late fee): November 2 – December 31

After December 31, the renewal application period closes and retailers with expired permits must apply for new permits.

Here are a few things to get before you start:

  • Current Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit number.
  • Philadelphia Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) number.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Revenue tobacco-specific licenses, as applicable.
  • Credit or debit card.


The renewal period for 2023 Tobacco Retailer Permit, which typically begins on August 1st each year, will be delayed. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) is updating the software used to process permit applications. When we are ready to accept applications, PDPH will send an email notice with the link for submitting the 2023 Tobacco Retailer Permit renewal application. Additional emails regarding the Tobacco Retailer Permit renewal application period will be sent in September and October.

Please email any questions to: