1. Why was the Tobacco Retail License Ordinance passed in Alhambra?
The Tobacco Retail License Ordinance was passed:
As a result of targeted industry marketing strategies, flavored tobacco products are marketed to youth and young adults, helping to establish tobacco habits that can lead to long-term addiction. Reducing youth exposure to these products will counteract this targeting
2. When does the ordinance go into effect?
Ordinance O2M21-4786 went into effect on June 20, 2021. However, any retailer who sells tobacco products needs to acquire an annual Tobacco Retail License from the City of Alhambra beginning January 1, 2022.
The sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, is prohibited effective July 1, 2022.
3. What is a flavored tobacco product?
A flavored tobacco product is any tobacco product which contains an ingredient that imparts a characterizing flavor. 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.
4. What is a characterizing flavor?
A characterizing flavor is a taste or aroma other than the taste or aroma of tobacco. Examples of characterizing flavor include:
5. Who is considered a tobacco retailer?
A tobacco retailer is any person or business that sells, offers for sale or distribution, exchanges, or offers to exchange for any form of consideration tobacco, tobacco products, or tobacco paraphernalia. Tobacco retailers must also be in possession of a California State Cigarette and Tobacco License in order to sell tobacco products in the state. No tobacco sales are permitted from mobile vending or pharmacies. Current electronic cigarette retailers are also considered a tobacco retailer under the new ordinance and must apply for a local Tobacco Retail License.
6. What are considered tobacco products?
A tobacco product includes any product containing, made, or derived from tobacco or nicotine intended for human consumption, whether smoked, heated, chewed, absorbed, dissolved, inhaled, snorted, sniffed, or ingested by any other means including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, little cigars, chewing tobacco, pipe tobacco, or snuff. It also includes any electronic device that delivers nicotine or other substances to the person inhaling from the device including, but not limited to, an electronic cigarette, cigar, pipe, or hookah.
7. What is tobacco paraphernalia?
Tobacco paraphernalia includes cigarette papers or wrappers, pipes, holders of smoking materials of all types, cigarette rolling machines, and any other item designed for the consumption, use, or preparation of tobacco products.
8. What is the state law regarding sales of drug paraphernalia?
Although selling tobacco paraphernalia is legal, California prohibits the sale of drug paraphernalia, which is defined as items that are "designed for use" or "marketed for use" with drugs (California Health and Safety Code § 11014.5). The sale of drug paraphernalia is illegal when the seller "knows, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know" that the item will be used for taking drugs (California Health and Safety Code § 11364.7 ).
9. How do retailers obtain a Tobacco Retail License?
Tobacco retailers in Alhambra are required to submit an application for a Tobacco Retail License and meet ordinance requirements to obtain and maintain a license. The application is available on the City's website or can be obtained from the Finance Department in City Hall.
10. Is there a fee to apply for a Tobacco Retail License?
The application fee is $300.
11. How long is the Tobacco Retail License effective?
The term of the license is one (1) year. Each license must be renewed annually by January 1.
Each tobacco retailer needs to apply for renewal of the Tobacco Retail License no later than thirty (30-60) days before the expiration date of the license. The renewal fee is $300.
12. What is the minimum age to purchase tobacco products?
The City Tobacco Retail License references "minimum age established by state law." The minimum age to purchase tobacco in Alhambra is 21 to comply with the state requirement.
13. What will happen if a retailer is cited for a license violation during an inspection?
Violations are subject to administrative fines and license suspension and/or revocation. Violations may also be subject to a civil action brought by the City of Alhambra, including suits for injunctive relief, which may also be punishable by fines. Criminal prosecution may also be sought for violations.
14. What happens if a retailer wants to sell their business? Is their Tobacco Retail License transferrable to potential new owners?
No. A Tobacco Retail License may not be transferred from one person to another or from one location to another. A new license is required whenever a tobacco retailing location has a change in proprietor(s). (See Ordinance A.M.C. 5.90.080.)
15. What does it mean for a business if they cannot obtain a Tobacco Retail License?
A Tobacco Retail License is not the same as a business license. Retailers that do not have a Tobacco Retail License may still operate their business, but will not be able to sell tobacco products.
16. What should a retailer do if they have multiple tobacco retailing locations?
Each location in Alhambra that sells tobacco products and/or tobacco paraphernalia must have its own Tobacco Retail License.
17. Is there an appeal process?
There is a process in place to appeal a denial, suspension, or revocation of a Tobacco Retail License and to appeal the imposition of administrative fines.