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Tobacco Permits

The Tobacco Retailer's Permit Ordinance requires business establishments in the City of Los Angeles to obtain and maintain an annual Tobacco Retailer's Permit for each fixed location where tobacco, tobacco products or tobacco paraphernalia are sold. The City Council created the Tobacco Enforcement Program in order to discourage the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors. In addition, the program seeks to identify tobacco retailers and better track problem vendors that repeatedly violate laws.

The Office of Finance is responsible for processing applications and issuing Tobacco Retailer's permits. Permits are issued annually and are valid through December 31. The City Attorney's Office is responsible for investigating and prosecuting tobacco retailers who fail to obtain and maintain a permit and for conducting compliance checks that may be necessary in the investigation of tobacco retailers. Violation of the City's Tobacco Retailer's Permit Ordinance is punishable as a misdemeanor, and can result in suspension of the tobacco permit, fines and/or jail. Any tobacco retailer who violates any state or local law regulating the sale, advertisement or display of tobacco products shall be subject to permit suspension.

Illegal sales of tobacco products to minors are an urgent public health issue. Increased compliance checks and aggressive enforcement of tobacco laws are essential components of reducing illegal sales.

Important Notice for NEW Tobacco Permit Applicants (Does not apply to renewals): 

You may not lawfully sell tobacco products until your Tobacco Permit application has been approved and your new Tobacco Permit is granted. The Office of Finance is responsible for processing Tobacco Permit applications and accepting all payments. The Office of Finance will also issue your Tobacco Permit once your eligibility is confirmed.

Please note Tobacco Retailer's Permits are not transferable. If your business location changes to a new address, you are required to apply for a new Tobacco Retailer's Permit for your new location.

The Tobacco Enforcement Program will confirm your eligibility within 2-4 business days. If your new Tobacco Permit application is approved, the Office of Finance will mail your Tobacco Permit to you. Note that the Tobacco Enforcement Program does NOT accept applications, process payments or issue Permits. Be advised that the Tobacco Enforcement Program will not approve a Tobacco Permit application for a location that is currently serving, or scheduled to serve, a Tobacco Permit suspension. To check the status of your new Tobacco Permit application, contact the Tobacco Enforcement Program at or (213) 202-5595. Have your account number available. The Tobacco Enforcement Program cannot accommodate in-person inquiries.


Tobacco Application 

To apply for a Tobacco Retailer's Permit, you can either apply online or mail-in the application form.  For online application, please click on the 'Apply Online' button below.  For mail-in application, please click on the 'Mail-in Application Form' button below to print, complete and mail the application.

Every November, the Office of Finance will send annual renewal notices to all tobacco retail permittees.  However, it is the responsibility of the tobacco retailer to obtain, complete and return renewal notices even if one is not received.

Apply Online            Mail-In Application Form         Renew Tobacco Retailer's Permit


General Information

What is the fee amount?

Effective November 14, 2008, the cost for a Tobacco Retailer's Permit is $437, to be adjusted annually. The fee will be set annually and calculated so as to recover the cost of both the administration and enforcement of the permit, including the cost of issuing the permit, renewing the permit, administering the retailer permit program, retailer education, retailer inspection and compliance checks, documentation of violations, adjudications, and convictions, and prosecution of violators. All fees are non-refundable, except as required by law and shall be used exclusively to fund the program. Fees shall not be prorated.

When did the Ordinance become effective?

The ordinance became effective on May 3, 2000.

What are the penalties?

If payment is not received by December 31, a 25% penalty of $109.25 will be added to the $437 fee.

What if I have additional questions?

If you would like additional information, please contact the Tobacco Enforcement Program at


For More Information

For more information about the Tobacco Retailer's Permit, contact the Office of Finance at (844) 663-4411.