Tobacco Retailer Permitting
Tobacco Sales Restrictions & Retailer Permit Requirement
UPDATE – DECEMBER 2020
Illegal to Sell Flavored Tobacco and Nicotine in Pleasanton Starting 1/1/2021
The City of Pleasanton adopted in September 2020 a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products that will go into effect starting January 1, 2021. At that time, you cannot sell in Pleasanton any tobacco or nicotine flavored product that has: “tastes or aromas relating to menthol, mint, wintergreen, fruit, chocolate, vanilla, hoeny, candy, cocoa, dessert, alcoholic beverage, herb or spice.”
While in 2020 the California legislature adopted a statewide ban on flavored tobacco, with some exemptions, in Senate Bill 793, that state law specifically allows more restrictive local regulations (like Pleasanton’s) to control.
Opponents of SB 793 have submitted petitions to referend SB 793 (which would require SB 793 to be presented to California voters for approval in November 2021). Nevertheless, any referendum on SB 793 does not change the City of Pleasanton’s prohibition on the sale of flavored tobacco and nicotine products, which still goes into effect January 1, 2021.
The Pleasanton Tobacco Retailer Permit program
On August 18, 2020, the Pleasanton City Council voted to establish a Tobacco Retailer Permitting program, joining over 150 California cities and counties with similar programs, as well as restrict the sale of certain types of tobacco and nicotine products.
The Pleasanton Tobacco Retailer Permit program and tobacco sales restrictions have the following requirements:
- Any retailer who sells tobacco products needs to acquire an annual Tobacco Retailer Permit from the City of Pleasanton.
- Flavored tobacco products are banned. These products can include, but are not limited to, flavored: cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, hookah, e-cigarette cartridges, e-juice, JUUL pods and other flavored components for vaporizers.
- Electronic smoking devices and related paraphernalia are banned. These products can include, but are not limited to: e-cigarettes, electronic pipes, e-cigars, tank devices, hookah pens, vapes, mods, batter chargers, tips and mouthpieces.
- Cigarettes, little cigars and cigarillos must be sold in packs of 20, at a minimum price of $8, plus sales tax.
- Cigars must be sold in packs of 5, at a minimum price of $8, plus sales tax. However, single cigars sold at a minimum price of $7 each, plus sales tax, are permitted.
- No coupons or discounts can be provided which allow for the sale of these products for less than full retail price.
The City sent letters to all state-licensed tobacco retailers in Pleasanton, as well as other business which might consider selling tobacco or nicotine products on a retail basis, notifying them of these changes.
Download the tobacco retailer permit application. The tobacco retailer permit will be issued by the City’s Business License Division and deadlines for the application and payment of a tobacco retailer permit will coincide with a Pleasanton Business License. You may visit the Business License Division.
FAQ—Retailer Permitting Program
Why was the Tobacco Retailer Permitting Ordinance passed in Pleasanton?
The Tobacco Retailer Permit Ordinance was passed: 1) to ensure that retailers comply with city, state and federal tobacco control laws to protect the health, safety and welfare of the Pleasanton community; and 2) to limit youth access to tobacco and nicotine products. Elected and appointed officials are concerned that flavored tobacco and nicotine products, as well as electronic smoking devices, are being used by a high percentage of underage youth. Reducing youth exposure to these products will counteract marketing targeting underage youth, as well as decrease potential addiction and health consequences.
What are the new restrictions associated with this new ordinance?
- Any retailer who sells tobacco or nicotine products needs to acquire an annual Tobacco Retailer Permit from the City of Pleasanton.
- The sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, is prohibited. Flavored tobacco products can include, but are not limited to, flavored: cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, little cigars, Swishers, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, snuff, hookah, e-cigarette cartridges, e-juice, JUUL pods and other flavored components for vaporizers. NOTE: There are no exceptions to the prohibition on flavored tobacco products. The exemptions provided in SB 793 are not recognized in Pleasanton.
- The sale of electronic smoking devices and related paraphernalia, is prohibited.
Electronic smoking devices can include, but are not limited to, flavored: e-cigarettes, e-cigars, e-pipes and e-hookah. Related paraphernalia can include, but it not limited to, e-cigarette cartridges, e-juice, pods, tanks, atomizers and other components.
- Retailers cannot keep at their stores, whether in the front retail area or back warehouse / stockroom, four or more flavored tobacco products or electronic smoking devices and related paraphernalia. There is a presumption that a tobacco retailer or tobacco store with four or more such products has an intent to sell (which is prohibited).
- Retailers must sell cigarettes, cigarillos, small cigars and little cigars in packs of twenty (20) priced at not less than eight dollars ($8). Retailers may not sell cigarettes, cigarillos, small cigars or little cigars in a pack with less than twenty (20). Retailers may not sell cigarettes, cigarillos, small cigars or little cigars packs for less than 8 dollars ($8), plus sales tax.
- The sale of single cigars for less than seven dollars ($7) is prohibited. Retailers may not sell single cigars for less than 7 dollars ($7), plus sales tax.
- Retailers must sell packages of cigars in minimum packs of five (5) priced at not less than eight dollars ($8). Retailers may not sell cigars in a pack with less than five (5) cigars. Retailers may not sell cigar packs for less than eight dollars ($8) per pack, plus sales tax.
- Coupons or discounts are prohibited. Retailers may not redeem coupons or offer multi-package discounts if it results in a purchase price for less than the minimums described above.
What is a flavored tobacco product?
A flavored tobacco product is any tobacco product which contains an ingredient that imparts a characterizing flavor.
A characterizing flavor is a taste or aroma other than the taste or aroma of tobacco. Examples of characterizing flavor include:
- Menthol, mint and wintergreen
- Fruit flavors such as grape, cherry, mango and watermelon
- Chocolate, vanilla, honey, candy and dessert
- Alcohol flavors such as wine, apple martini, piña colada, rum and cognac
- Herb or spice flavors such as clove and cinnamon
What is an electronic smoking device and related paraphernalia?
An electronic smoking device is an electronic device that delivers nicotine or other vaporized liquids to the person inhaling from the device, including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, e-cigar, e-pipe or e-hookah. Related paraphernalia includes e-juice, pods, tanks, atomizers, tips and chargers.
No new tobacco retailers within 1,000 feet of a public school, park or recreation facility.
No new tobacco retailers can open for business within 1,000 feet of a public school, park or recreation facility. Existing tobacco retailers within such 1,000 foot area may continue to sell tobacco products, but cannot expand their stores, or change locations within that 1,000 foot area.
When does the ordinance go into effect?
The ordinance went into effect September 2020. However, Tobacco Retailer Permit applications are due in January 2021 in tandem with a City of Pleasanton Business License. Enforcement regarding compliance of the new regulations (ban on flavored tobacco and nicotine products, ban on electronic smoking devices and minimum package sizes and prices) will begin on January 1, 2021. The application and information on the application process is available on the Business License Division’s webpage.
Who is considered a tobacco retailer?
What are considered tobacco products?
What is tobacco paraphernalia?
Tobacco paraphernalia includes, but is not limited to, cigarette papers or wrappers, blunt wraps, pipes, holders of smoking materials of all types, cigarette rolling machines, e-cigarette liquid pods and any other item designed for the smoking or ingestion of tobacco products.
How do retailers obtain a Tobacco Retailer Permit?
Is there a fee to apply for a Tobacco Retailer Permit?
The initial application fee is $550 and subsequent annual renewals are $450.
How does a Tobacco Retailer Permit work?
What is the difference between the State Permit and this City Permit?
What is the minimum age to purchase tobacco products?
The federal and state legal minimum age for the purchase for tobacco products is 21 with no exemption for military personnel.
What will happen if a retailer is cited for a permit violation during an inspection?
Violations are subject to permit suspension and/or revocation.
How long is the Tobacco Retailer Permit effective?
What happens if a retailer wants to sell their business? Is their Tobacco Retailer Permit transferrable to potential new owners?
No. A Tobacco Retailer Permit may not be transferred from one person to another or from one location to another. A new permit is required whenever a tobacco retailing location has a change in proprietor(s).
What does it mean for a business if they cannot obtain a Tobacco Retailer Permit?
What should a retailer do if they have multiple tobacco retailing locations?
Each location in Pleasanton that sells tobacco products and/or tobacco paraphernalia must have its own Tobacco Retailer Permit.
Is there an appeal process?
There is a process in place to appeal a denial, suspension, or revocation of a Tobacco Retailer Permit.