Tobacco Retailer Licensing Contra Costa County

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					Tobacco Retailer’s Licensing

       Some lessons from
      Contra Costa County
  Context for the Tobacco
Retailer’s License Ordinance
            • 1997 – 1998, the
              Tobacco Industry and
              CGA both attended
              Board of Supervisors
              meetings re: Tobacco-
              Free Youth Ordinance
            • End of 1998, Board
              adopted a “penalty”
              licensing ordinance.
    Contra Costa Context Cont
• By 2002, BOS wanted to “upgrade” TRL
  ordinance to license all retailers.
• WHY?
• TPC had kept the issue of youth and
  tobacco before the BOS during advocacy
  for MSA funds – a two year period.
• Champion of licensing was running for
  Assembly and wanted to add to her legacy.
     Contra Costa Context Cont
• Composition of the Board changed – 2 who voted
  for “penalty” licensing replaced by 2 strong
  tobacco prevention advocates.
• TI and CGA did not attend meetings where new
  TRL discussed.
• TPP kept the discussions under the radar screen.
• Revised ordinance adopted in January 2003 and
  implemented in July in concert with Tax
    Licensing and Compliance
• Before licensing, sales rate 37% in
  unincorporated area.
• TCS Enforcement Grant supported stings.
• With licensing and active enforcement of
  PC308(a), sales rate fell to 2%, then
  climbed to 7% at end of FY 2003 – 2004.
    Licensing and Compliance
• Between October 2003 and 2004, 10 license
  suspension hearings & 8 suspensions.
• 7 suspensions for illegal sales, 1 for ssd
           License Fees - Now
•   There are about 110 tobacco retailers.
•   $160 annual licensing fee.
•   175 site inspections for ssd ban, TRL.
•   100 stings for PC308(a) – contract with
  Enforcement and Prosecution
• In CCC, moved prosecution of 308(a)
  citations from DA to traffic court.
• Lots of people power involved to enforce,
  prosecute and maintain paperwork (reports,
  database, correspondence, files).
           Hearing Process
• Close relationship with County Counsel for
  protocol, forms, the odd situation.
• One hearing officer who has set a standard
  of one week for PC308(a) violations,
  second chance for TFYO violations.
• Costs of hearing ($348)and re-inspection
  ($110) charged to the retailer.
             What’s Next?
• How many suspensions will it take for
  retailers to stop selling tobacco to minors?
• Adding signage provision to the model
  licensing ordinance that we are promoting
  in two cities in our county. Complying with
  local signage ordinances will be a
  conditions of maintaining a TRL.

     Call Charlotte Dickson at
            Or email at

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