San Diego County Approves Tobacco Retail Licensing Program

San Diego County, Calif., will now implement a tobacco retail licensing program throughout much of the local community.

The county’s Board of Supervisors approved, on December 9, that there will be in place additional restrictions on the sale of all tobacco products within the unincorporated areas of the county, and a new enforcement regime will be facilitated to ensure compliance.

The new regulations will enter into force in July of 2021.

According to the county’s communications office, the action to establish a tobacco retail licensing (TRL) program will allow the board and their departments to further regulate and supervise the sale of tobacco products. The TRL program will require business owners to obtain a permit to stay in compliance with all federal, state, county, and local tobacco control laws while further protecting access laws related to tobacco.

2. Transferability among corporate ownership among family-owned businesses;

The TRL will be transferable among immediate family members, as long as the business location does not change. The new owner will also have to meet the age requirement for selling tobacco products, meaning a TRL will not be transferable to anyone under the age of 21.

3. Further access restrictions, including vending machine points-of-sale.

In addition to prohibiting the in-person sale of tobacco and flavored tobacco products to those 21 or younger, the ordinance will ban the placement of tobacco vending machines in the unincorporated area of the county. Businesses that have onsite pharmacies will no longer be allowed to sell tobacco products.

The licensing program will also cap the number of establishments that can sell tobacco products in the unincorporated area to 330 businesses across the county.

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