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Tobacco Enforcement Operations (TEO)

The Tobacco Enforcement Operations (TEO) unit within the Office of L.A. City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto is responsible for developing citywide tobacco-control policies and enforcing tobacco-related laws. In addition to issuing Tobacco Retailer's Permits to more than 4,000 tobacco retailers in the city, TEO develops youth-focused initiatives, such as Decreasing Adolescent Tobacco Access (DATA) and Responsible Retailer, and regularly collaborates with LAUSD in effort to keep cigarettes, e-cigarettes (vapes) and other tobacco products away from minors.

Information for Tobacco Retailers in the City of L.A.

If you sell tobacco products in the City of Los Angeles, you must have a valid City of Los Angeles Tobacco Retailer's Permit. It is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine, to sell tobacco products without a Tobacco Permit.

You may apply for a new Tobacco Permit online, in person, or by mail. To apply online or to download the application for mail submissions, please visit the Office of Finance. For in person submissions, please visit one of the Office of Finance branch locations. Existing Tobacco Permit holders will receive a renewal notice from the Office of Finance beginning October of each year.  Please be aware that the Tobacco Permits must be obtained prior to the sale of any tobacco products.

The City of Los Angeles will suspend your Tobacco Permit if you sell tobacco to a minor, allow smoking in an enclosed workplace or are convicted of violating any law involving tobacco retailing.

  1. First violation: 30-day Tobacco Permit suspension
  2. Second violation: 90-day Tobacco Permit suspension
  3. Third violation: 120-day Tobacco Permit suspension
  4. Fourth violation: Tobacco Permit revocation

View the most recent tobacco permit suspensions. (link to PDF)

To avoid a Tobacco Permit suspension, it is imperative that you and your employees follow the law.

City of Los Angeles Flavored Tobacco Retail Sales Ban

The Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance to prohibit the retail sale of flavored tobacco products. The ordinance became effective on July 16, 2022 and is currently enforceable. For additional information, please see:

Translations of the FAQ are available in the following languages

Smoking, E-Cigarettes and Tobacco-Use Prohibitions

In the City of Los Angeles, smoking and vaping (e-cigarettes) are prohibited here:

  • Indoor workplaces, including residential daycare facilities. 
  • Within 20 feet of entryways/exits/operable windows of government buildings.
  • Buildings owned or leased by the City of Los Angeles. 
  • City-permitted farmers markets. 
  • Outdoor dining areas. 
  • Within 40 feet of a food kiosk, food cart or mobile food truck.
  • City parks and beaches. 
  • Public playgrounds. 
  • Vehicles in which there is a minor present. 
  • Public transportation systems. 
  • The Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

And the use of smokeless tobacco (such as chewing tobacco) is prohibited here:

  • ​All event sites for organized sporting events.
  • City parks and beaches.

City Attorney Tobacco-Related Initiatives

Decreasing Adolescent Tobacco Access (DATA)
The Decreasing Adolescent Tobacco Access (DATA) Initiative, funded by the California Attorney General’s Office through Proposition 56 (the California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act), further supports the City’s goal of keeping tobacco products away from youth. Through the DATA Initiative, the City has implemented several strategies to address the alarming increase in youth e-cigarette usage, including a comprehensive vaping awareness media campaign and an increase in undercover decoy compliance checks conducted by LAPD.

Responsible Retailer Program
The City Attorney's Office launched the Responsible Retailer initiative in 2015 in partnership with Ralph’s Grocery Company, Food 4 Less, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Health. Through this effort, tobacco retailers located near schools were educated about tobacco laws and overall responsible retail practices to create safer, healthier neighborhoods. TEO also presents to parents, teachers and law enforcement about the health impacts of tobacco use and shares strategies to reduce youth access. 

Youth Tobacco-Use Prevention Resources

  • Flavors Hook Kids (flavored tobacco product information, education and resources in multiple languages). 
  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (Multi-language resources, advocacy tools and fact-sheets for educators, parents, and youth).

Local, State and Federal Tobacco Control Programs and Smoking Cessation Resources

LA County Public Health: Tobacco Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Smoking and Tobacco Use
California Department of Public Health Tobacco Control Branch
Food and Drug Administration Center for Tobacco Products Newsroom 

For questions or additional information, please email Tobacco Enforcement Operations: