California Tobacco Retailer Licensing

California Tobacco Retailer Licensing

A Model Ordinance, Fact Sheets, and Supplemental Plug-ins

ChangeLab Solutions developed this Model Ordinance to help California cities and counties that want to require local tobacco retailer licensing (TRL). Licenses are one way to ensure compliance with local business standards, reduce youth access to tobacco, and limit the negative public health effects associated with tobacco use.

The Model Ordinance contains all the essential elements for a local tobacco retailer license, including descriptions of who must obtain a license, requirements and prohibitions for licensees, enforcement provisions, and penalties. In addition to the core Model Ordinance, ChangeLab Solutions drafted supplementary “Plug-in” provisions that can be added to the Model Ordinance. Each Plug-in provides a different policy option. For example, some Plug-ins impose limitations on which businesses can be licensed, while others create additional requirements and prohibitions for licensed retailers; there are also additional enforcement options. In September 2014, ChangeLab Solutions developed three additional plug-in policy options for regulating the sale of tobacco products. 

ChangeLab Solutions TRL resources include: 

  • TRL: An Effective Tool for Public Health, a fact sheet explaining how TRL works, why many communities are pursuing this policy, and what goes into creating and implementing a strong TRL law 
  • TRL Model Ordinance Checklist, this companion checklist highlights key policy options available in the Model Ordinance (download below)
  • TRL Model Ordinance, a model ordinance containing all the essential elements for a local tobacco retailer license (download below)
  • Policy Provisions for a Tobacco Retailer License, a fact sheet that describes several TRL "Plug-ins" 
  • Plug-Ins for the TRL Model Ordinance, supplemental Plug-in provisions (with policy language) that can be added to the Model Ordinance (download below)
  • Plug-In Policy Options Regulating Price, additional financial policy options that can be added to the Model Ordinance (download below)
  • Tobacco Licensing Fee Calculator, a tool for local California communities to determine an appropriate fee that adequately supports the costs associated with implementing and enforcing a TRL system 
  • ChangeLab Solutions also developed TRL FAQs 

Please consult with us or your local government attorney if you want help adapting the ordinance.