Yesterday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ambitious piece of anti-tobacco legislation that they hope will cut the number of tobacco-selling stores in the city in half over the next ten to 15 years.
The Tobacco Sales Reduction Act has been in development since 2008, and with its passage, sets a cap of 45 tobacco sales permits in each of the city’s 11 districts. Currently, there are nearly 1,000 permits in use throughout the city according to the San Francisco Examiner.
The city won’t force any current permit holders to give theirs up, but should a store close, that permit goes away with it. Additionally, no new permits will be issued going forward in any district that has more than 45 existing permits, with the changes applying to electronic cigarette retailer as well. Should a district fall below 45 permit-holders, any new permit holder must also be at least 500 feet from schools and another tobacco retailer.
However, the news is even worse for anyone hoping to open a tobacco shop in San Francisco, which is defined as “any retailer who principle business is selling tobacco products, tobacco paraphernalia, or both” and where 70% of gross sales receipts are derived from the sale of tobacco products or 50% of completed sales transactions includes a tobacco product or paraphernalia. The Act explicitly says that no new permits shall be issued for the creation of a tobacco shop.
In other words, forget about seeing any new premium cigar shops open up in San Francisco.
San Francisco is the fourth-largest city in California, with a 2013 population estimate of 837,442.