Webpage last updated 4/29/2024. 

Eligibility Requirements for a County Tobacco Retail License

  1. The tobacco retail store location MUST be in the unincorporated area of San Diego County.
  2. Tobacco retailers MUST  have a valid state Cigarette and Tobacco Products Retailer’s License (cdtfa.ca.gov/).
  3.  After January 1, 2022, NEW applicants within 500 feet of a licensed tobacco retailer in the unincorporated area will NOT be eligible for a Tobacco Retail License (TRL). If the business owner and location previously qualified to be exempted (grandfathered) from the 500-foot rule, please be advised that the exemption (grandfathering) does NOT transfer to a new owner or location. Applicants must apply for a NEW TRL if:
    • The ownership changes.
    • The ownership structure changes (e.g.,  from sole proprietor to corporation).
    • The tobacco retail location changes.
    • new tobacco retail location opens.
  4. Facilities with onsite pharmacies are NOT eligible for a County of San DiegoTRL.
  5. The tobacco retail location MUST NOT be operated out of a private residence.
  6. All sales of tobacco products MUST be conducted in-person (no delivery or online sales) at the licensed location.
  7. Persons under 21 years of age are NOT eligible to receive a County of San Diego TRL.
  8. Hookah tobacco retailers MUST NOT permit any person under 21 years of age to be present or enter the premises at any time.  
  9. Tobacco retailers MUST comply with the state Labor Code, which prohibits the smoking of tobacco products in an enclosed space if food or beverages are served.
  10. A County of San Diego TRL can ONLY  be transferred to an immediate family member (e.g., parent, child, spouse, or domestic partner) and only for tobacco sales at the same retail location. The transferee must meet all TRL eligibility requirements and complete and submit a Transfer of Ownership Certification Form.

For more information on eligibility requirements, please view the video below:

Video for Retailers: Applying for a Tobacco Retail License (Part 1 of 3)

Parts 2 (Video for Retailers: Flavored Tobacco Products) and 3 (Video for Retailers: Minimum Price and Packaging Requirements) are pending, coming soon!