Webpage last updated 4/29/2024. 

Inspection Information

Two types of store inspections are carried out every year by the County of San Diego Tobacco Retail Licensing Program staff. These inspections ensure that tobacco retailers comply with all County of San Diego, state, and federal laws regulating the sale and use of tobacco products in tobacco retail locations.

1. Compliance Inspections: A Code Enforcement Officer will make an unannounced visit to the retail location to check for compliance with all tobacco licensing requirements. They will introduce themselves to staff at the time of the visit, will use the Compliance Visit Checklist to record all observations, and will take photos as necessary to document any violation(s). Please review the Compliance Visit Checklist to make sure you understand and comply with all regulations.             

  • Retailers found to have one or more violations will receive a Compliance Notice letting them know what they need to do to correction the violation(s). If the follow-up inspection reveals that the violation(s) is still occurring, an Administrative Citation will be issued. Retailers have the right to request an appeal of the Administrative Citation
  • Retailers found to be in compliance with all licensing requirements will be notified via email by the Code Enforcement Officer. 

2. Underage Sales Inspections: These inspections, also known as Minor Decoy Operations, are conducted by trained, undercover Adult Decoys who work under the supervision of knowledgeable and experienced personnel. 

  • Retailers that sold a tobacco product to the Adult Decoy will receive a Notice of License Suspension. The length of the license suspension will be 30 days for a first violation, 60 days for a second violation, and 90 days for a third violation (within five years of the date of the first violation). The license will be revoked for a fourth violation during the same time period. Retailers have the right request an appeal of the License Suspension or License Revocation.
  • Retailers that did not make an underage sale will be notified via email by the County of San Diego Tobacco Retail Licensing Program.