Permits for Selling Tobacco
The San Francisco Health Code has been amended by adding article 19H to require a permit for tobacco sales. This means that to sell tobacco products on a retail level in San Francisco, you are required to have two permits:
Application for the sale of tobacco from the State Board of Equalization, which is intended to insure the proper collection of tobacco taxes, and
Application for the sale of tobacco products permit from us, which is intended to eliminate the sale of tobacco products to underage individuals.
Enforcement of San Francisco Tobacco Control Laws Dramatically Cuts Illegal Sales to Minors
To prevent the sales of tobacco to minors, San Francisco began conducting police decoy operations and began tracking the rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors in 1999. In 2005, the Department of Public Health began using the City's new retail tobacco facility permit law to enforce such illegal sales by suspending permits to shops who were found selling tobacco to minors. Between 2004 and 2005, there began a dramatic decrease in observed tobacco sales to minors. Based on the undercover operations, the percent of minors that were able to buy tobacco fell from 22.3% in 2004 to 17% in 2005 to 11% in 2008 (Tobacco Sales to Minors 1999 - 2008 Chart (pdf)). These incredible results are testimony to the strength of environmental health laws to change health risk behaviors and the commitment of the San Francisco City agencies to enforce accountability to these laws.
Mobile Food Vendors & Sale of Tobacco
A state law went into effect on January 1, 2004, The Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act of 2003, which prohibits mobile tobacco sales in California. The new state law requires every eligible retailer currently selling tobacco to apply for and obtain a retailers’ license from the California State Board of Equalization. However, only retailers that operate from a fixed location are eligible to obtain a license while catering trucks, lunch wagons and other mobile facilities do not qualify for a license to sell cigarettes or tobacco.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health will collect a one-time application fee and an annual fee for the tobacco permit
(See Fee Schedule of Licenses, Permits, Fines & Service Charges). This permit must be renewed annually.
Send the San Francisco Department of Public Health Application to the:
Environmental Health Section,
1390 Market St., Suite 210,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Attention: Tobacco Sales Permits
Include a check in amount of $50 payable to: SFDPH (San Francisco Department of Public Health) For instructions where to send the permit for the State Board of Equalization, click here