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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county & community efforts.

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By Noelda Lopez

December 06, 2019

Noelda Lopez, Public Information Specialist
Office: 352-589-6424, After Hours: 352-728-7662

Eustis, FL Tobacco Free Florida in Lake County and the Tobacco Free Partnerships’ Point of Sale Taskforce wants to educate the community on the benefits of a tobacco retail license (TRL). A TRL is a policy allowing local governments to require all stores that sell tobacco and/or nicotine products to obtain a special license for the privilege of selling these products in their community.

As a method to protect public health and safety, local governments can require all businesses that sell tobacco products to obtain and maintain a license from the city or county government for the privilege of selling such products to consumers. It is a policy tool similar to those used to regulate alcohol, pharmacists, and restaurants by state and local governments. Local governments have the opportunity to design a policy by choosing options that fit the needs of their population for:

  • who must obtain a license and restrictions on eligibility
  • requirements/prohibitions of licensee
  • who will enforce the license
  • consequences of violations

Several unique “plug-in” provisions, such as retailers’ distance from schools, allow for a

tailor-made approach to tobacco control that addresses the specific needs of a community.

The 2012 Surgeon General’s Report shows that nearly 9 out of 10 smokers start before age 18, and 99% of tobacco users start by age 26.2 TRL’s have been shown to reduce youth initiation of smoking, tobacco use overall, and health disparity outcomes. Strong local tobacco retailer licensing laws have proven effective at reducing illegal tobacco sales to minors.

The Tobacco Free Partnerships’ Point of Sale Taskforce is comprised of community members working together to move the needle forward in the effort to once again de-normalize tobacco use for our youth. The next meeting is scheduled for December 10, 2019 @ 3pm. Everyone is invited to attend. For more information, please contact the Tobacco Prevention Program at 352-589-6424 option 3.

About Tobacco Free Florida

The department’s Tobacco Free Florida campaign is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Since the program began in 2007, more than 236,000 Floridians have successfully quit using one of Tobacco Free Florida's free tools and services. There are now approximately 451,000 fewer adult smokers in Florida than there was 10 years ago, and the state has saved $17.7 billion in health care costs.3 To learn more about Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way services, visit or follow the campaign on Facebook at


1 /CA.LicensingOrdinanceChecklit_201806.pdf

2 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US) Office on Smoking and Health. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2012. 5, The Tobacco Industry’s Influences on the Use of Tobacco Among Youth. Available from:

3 Mann, Nathan M, Nonnemaker, James M., Thompson, Jesse. "Smoking-Attributable Health Care Costs in Florida and Potential Health Care Cost Savings Associated with Reductions in Adult Smoking Prevalence." 2016.