Attention: Cigarette Retail Dealers
New sign required by State Law took effect on January 1, 2013 (download)
DCA licenses cigarette retailers in New York City, and enforces City and State laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors. Additionally, all retail tobacco dealers in New York City must register with the State Department of Taxation and Finance to sell tobacco products in New York City.
Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention Program
DCA runs one of the best and most comprehensive Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention Programs in the country. This program, which pairs inspectors and undercover minors, inspects essentially every City cigarette retail dealer every year to ensure they do not sell tobacco products to underage kids. The program is funded by a New York State grant administered by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Stores’ compliance has gone from 52%, when the program formally began in 1998, to more than 90% in recent years.
Attention: Teens Aged 15 to 17
DCA is seeking to hire minors between the ages of 15 and 17 for our Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention Program.
Learn how to apply
What Tobacco Retailers Need to Know
Under City and State law, tobacco retailers cannot:
- Sell to minors. No tobacco products (including bidis and gutka) can be legally sold to individuals under the age of 18 years.
- Sell loose cigarettes.
- Sell to customers lacking required ID. Customers must have a valid photo ID. Valid photo IDs include:
- a driver's license or nondriver's ID card issued by any U.S. state or possession
- an ID issued by the federal government or the U.S. armed forces
- a valid passport from any country
(A salesperson is not required to check the ID of a customer who appears to be at least 25 years old. However, the appearance of a customer cannot be used as a defense if the customer was, in fact, a minor.)
- Allow employees younger than 18 to sell or handle tobacco products, unless the employee is under the supervision of someone who is 18 or older.
- Store products improperly. Tobacco products and herbal cigarettes offered for sale or on display must be stored behind a counter, inaccessible to the public, or in a locked container.
- Operate vending machines in locations where minors have easy access.
- Sell bidis (except from a tobacco store).
Violations of City tobacco law may result in fines of up to $2,000, in addition to fines assessed under the State law, and the loss of the business’s DCA license.
- Violations of State tobacco law may result in fines of up to $4,000, plus a $50 surcharge for each violation. Violations can lead to the loss of the business’s State retail sales registration and Lottery license.
- Violators guilty of illegally selling cigarettes to a minor can only avail themselves of limited penalty waiver options if they show the seller held a valid certificate of completion from a State Certified Tobacco Sales Training Program.
For information about the New York State Department of Health Tobacco Sales Training Program, tobacco vending machines, and sales to minors, call (800) 458-1158 or visit www.health.state.ny.us