What is a comprehensive Tobacco Retail License Program?

A comprehensive TRL is a robust licensing program for retailers that want to sell tobacco products that includes an annual fee that is high enough to cover the costs for adequate enforcement. It is enforceable, allows local governments to establish stronger policies that fit their community needs, and holds retailers accountable. Research shows comprehensive TRL policies with strong enforcement measures can reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors and decrease youth smoking rates.

hero_image_alt_text===A picture of a convenience store counter with Juul e-e-cigarettes next to candy
thumbnail_alt_text===A picture of a convenience store counter with Juul e-e-cigarettes next to cand

As with any law, a tobacco retail license can only work as well as it is enforced, and the annual fee ensures enforcement measures are adequately funded. Annual compliance checks, requiring re-checks and increasing fines on retail owners for repeat violations will help the effectiveness and reduce illegal tobacco sales to youth.

We do not support any TRL policy that includes youth purchase, use, or possession penalties because they are not an effective approach to reducing youth tobacco use and inappropriately shift the blame for underage tobacco use from tobacco companies and retailers - who profit from youth tobacco use - to our kids. We believe it is the responsibility of the retail owner to ensure laws are followed, and youth consumers should not be held accountable if the business does not comply with the law. Penalizing youth often diverts enforcement officials’ attention from stopping illegal sales at retail locations to focusing on youth users and can lead to unintended consequences.

Check out our fact sheet here.

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