Permits, violations & licenses

Get a tobacco retailer permit

The Philadelphia Code requires retailers to obtain permits for the sale of any type of tobacco product.

Tobacco products include:

  • Cigarettes.
  • Cigars.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Dipping tobacco.
  • Pipe tobacco.
  • Hookah.
  • Snuff.
  • Snus.
  • Bidis.
  • Electronic cigarettes.
  • Juuls.
  • Other electronic smoking devices.

The tobacco retailer permit allows the Department of Public Health to monitor tobacco retailers and ensure they follow the laws.

Who

All retailers who sell tobacco products in Philadelphia must have a permit.

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Requirements

Retailers that only sell cigars need the Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit.

Some retailers are required to have both the Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit and the cigarette dealer license/tobacco products license from the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue. This includes retailers who sell:

  • Cigarettes.
  • Cigarettes from a vending machine.
  • Little cigars.
  • Pipe tobacco.
  • Chewing tobacco.
  • Snuff.
  • Other tobacco products for chewing, ingesting, or smoking.

This also includes those who sell:

  • Hookah.
  • Electronic cigarettes.
  • Liquid products.
  • Delivery devices.

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.

Limitations

In December 2016, the Board of Health approved a regulation limiting the density of tobacco retailers in Philadelphia planning districts. This regulation also prohibited new tobacco retailer permits within 500 feet (approximately two blocks) of any K12 school.

You can search tobacco retailer density in Philadelphia.

Penalties

Any retailer selling tobacco without a valid tobacco retailer permit will be fined $75 per day. If you sell tobacco to a minor, you will be fined $250 per sale. The third time you sell tobacco to a minor in two years, your tobacco retailer permit will be suspended for a year.

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Cost

Tobacco retailer applications cost $300 for both new permits and renewals.

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How

The tobacco retailer permit is valid for one calendar year, effective January 1. The permit will expire on December 31 of the same year.

You must register to apply for a permit or renew your existing permit online.

Applying for a new Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit

To complete the application, you will need:

  • General store information, including the store name, location, and types of tobacco products you intend to sell.
  • Store business information, including the Philadelphia Commercial Activity License (CAL) number and associated Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) number.
  • Your Pennsylvania cigarette dealers license number, if you intend to sell cigarettes/cigars.
  • Your Pennsylvania Other Tobacco Products (OTP) license number, if you intend to sell other tobacco products.
  • Contact information for the owner of the store.
  • Permit application fee of $300.

Apply online

Applying to renew a Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit

To obtain a renewal for the upcoming calendar year, your business must have a current Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit at the same location.

If your business had a change in ownership you must apply for a new permit.

Businesses that have a current order from the Department of Public Health to cease tobacco sales must apply for a new permit.

To complete the renewal application, you will need:

  • Your current Philadelphia tobacco retailer permit number. (The permit number will also be included on the notice of renewal letter sent by the Department of Public Health.)
  • Your Philadelphia Business Income and Receipts Tax (BIRT) number.
  • Your Pennsylvania cigarette dealers license number, if you sell cigarettes/cigars.
  • Your Pennsylvania Other Tobacco Products (OTP) license number, if you sell other tobacco products.
  • Permit application fee of $300 through November 1. (From November 2 through December 31, renewal applications will be subject to a $50 late fee.)

Renewal applications will not accepted after December 31. After December 31, retailers must apply for a new permit.

Renew today

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