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City of Stockton Successfully Adopts Strong Tobacco Retailer Licensing Ordinance

submitted by Kimberly Bankston-Lee

City of Stockton Successfully Adopts Strong Tobacco Retailer Licensing Ordinance

We are delighted to announce that the City of Stockton has successfully adopted a robust Tobacco Retailer Licensing (TRL) ordinance (June 2023), marking a significant step towards enforcing tobacco sales laws at the local, state, and federal levels. The San Joaquin Tobacco Outreach and Prevention Program (STOPP) Coalition is thrilled with this progressive move and commends the City for its commitment to promoting a healthier community.

The decision to implement a comprehensive TRL ordinance was influenced by overwhelming public support, as evidenced by a recent public opinion poll conducted by San Joaquin County Public Health Services. The survey revealed that an impressive 90% of respondents, including 85% of tobacco users, expressed their backing for a local TRL. Remarkably, a substantial 95% of those in favor of the TRL were Stockton residents (Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community survey, 2020).

One of the primary motivations behind this ordinance was the concern over the proliferation of vape products collected from students in schools, largely due to the excessive number of tobacco retailers in Stockton. With the adoption of the TRL ordinance, Stockton has taken a decisive step towards addressing this issue. The new regulations will effectively restrict flavored tobacco, impose strict penalties on licensees, and ensure that tobacco retailers maintain a minimum distance of 600 feet from one another. 

Moreover, the ordinance closes loopholes in the state's flavored tobacco ban (SB793) and prohibits the proximity of tobacco retailers to youth-sensitive areas. Another notable provision is that licenses are now non-transferrable, increasing accountability within the tobacco retail industry.

Looking ahead, the City of Stockton will begin the implementation of the TRL ordinance in 90 days. During this time, the City may propose a bid process to select a community-based organization to partner with the police department for compliance. This collaboration aims to enhance enforcement efforts and ensure that tobacco retailers are operating in full compliance with the new regulations.

With the adoption of this strong Tobacco Retailer Licensing ordinance, Stockton has taken a proactive stance in safeguarding the well-being of its residents, especially its youth, from the harmful effects of tobacco products.

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