Cigarette and Tobacco Products Inspection Program

The Cigarette and Tobacco Products Licensing Act (CTPLA) of 2003 authorizes the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) to inspect California retail, wholesale and distributor businesses selling cigarettes and tobacco products. The CDTFA Investigations Division conducts regular inspections to ensure these businesses are in compliance with tobacco tax laws, and will seize any untaxed or otherwise illicit cigarette and tobacco products. Among other reviews, CDTFA Inspectors will check to see if:

  • You have a CDTFA license to sell cigarettes and tobacco products.
  • You purchased your cigarettes and tobacco products from a CDTFA licensed wholesaler or distributor, and have supporting purchase/sales invoices for your current inventory.
  • Your cigarette inventory has valid California tax stamps affixed, do not include flavored cigarettes (menthol exempt), are listed on the California Tobacco Directory and comply with the low ignition propensity "fire safe cigarette" (FSC) requirements of California.
  • The California excise tax was paid on all other tobacco products in your inventory.

"Untaxed" cigarettes include cigarettes without tax stamps, cigarettes affixed with counterfeit, reused or other state stamps, cigarette packs (stamped or unstamped) that are marked "Not for sale in the United States," or cigarettes to which cigarette tax stamps are affixed in violation of the specified prohibitions under the Master Settlement Agreement (Revenue & Taxation Code section 30165.1). Untaxed tobacco includes tobacco products in inventory for which there are no valid purchase invoices that show excise taxes paid.

The table below reflects the results of inspections conducted by the Investigations Division and is updated monthly. Prior fiscal years' inspection figures can be viewed using the links at the bottom of this page. Inspection figures include retail, wholesale, and distributor business locations.

Fiscal Year 2017-18 Number of Inspections Number of Cigarette Seizures Total Packs of Cigarettes Seized Number of Tobacco Product Seizures Total Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Seized
July 918 2 169 7 $ 6,050
August 937 3 12,423 1 482
September 645 6 1,317 1 96
October 957 5 786 5 3,309
November 846 9 5,291 5 2,452
December 1,176 7 1,036 5 2,169
January          
February          
March          
April          
May          
June          
Total 5,479 32 21,022 24 $ 14,558

  • Fiscal Year 2016-17 Number of Inspections Number of Cigarette Seizures Total Packs of Cigarettes Seized Number of Tobacco Product Seizures Total Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Seized
    July 932 8 30,763 2 $ 250
    August 1,229 7 18,162 4 299
    September 1,013 4 1,562 5 879
    October 1,069 3 620 6 1,941
    November 981 0 0 2 805
    December 931 6 9,197 6 3,424
    January 951 2 619 11 10,718
    February 970 5 287,100 6 1,359
    March 969 4 516 5 50,247
    April 601 1 171 6 3,196
    May 722 5 2,159 2 1,373
    June 565 6 13,710 5 573
    Total 10,933 51 364,579 60 $ 75,064
  • Fiscal Year 2015-16 Number of Inspections Number of Cigarette Seizures Total Packs of Cigarettes Seized Number of Tobacco Product Seizures Total Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Seized
    July 986 8 9,795 5 $ 518,791
    August 1,045 6 1,141 8 4,313
    September 1,057 8 26,637 5 1,809
    October 980 5 43,890 4 33,570
    November 795 2 109 5 1,582
    December 931 3 4,127 4 23,363
    January 706 1 36 2 546
    February 991 11 40,683 11 8,264
    March 1,021 7 1,360 10 1,558
    April 1,126 3 4,310 5 2,798
    May 871 8 1,180 9 4,700
    June 795 5 4,048 8 840,949
    Total 11,304 67 137,316 76 $ 1, 442,243
  • Fiscal Year 2014-15 Number of Inspections Number of Cigarette Seizures Total Packs of Cigarettes Seized Number of Tobacco Product Seizures Total Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Seized
    July 936 4 818 10 $ 3,889
    August 890 5 926 11 6,603
    September 934 5 150 13 4,552
    October 1,018 6 1,225 12 3,663
    November 742 4 183 18 3,475
    December 727 3 2,640 10 2,837
    January 663 7 10,663 6 3,294
    February 854 5 328 14 11,931
    March 863 5 2,202 9 9,836
    April 1,157 4 61 15 32,794
    May 923 2 37 10 14,030
    June 1,063 8 6,556 4 845
    Total 10,770 58 25,789 132 $ 97,749
  • Fiscal Year 2013-14 Number of Inspections Number of Cigarette Seizures Total Packs of Cigarettes Seized Number of Tobacco Product Seizures Total Wholesale Cost of Tobacco Seized
    July 1,127 10 2,218 13 $ 7,367
    August 937 11 38,503 13 12,947
    September 916 22 9,639 16 11,992
    October 898 14 17,168 17 5,496
    November 825 18 1,746 10 5,146
    December 675 12 2,569 6 927
    January 487 7 511 6 4,557
    February 748 10 2,512 5 3,848
    March 747 4 1,099 2 227
    April 1,052 7 311 9 3,221
    May 1,219 5 1,097 12 3,152
    June 908 0 0 7 4,156
    Total 10,539 120 77,373 116 $ 63,036

Note: As a result of the Taxpayer Transparency and Fairness Act of 2017, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) replaced the Board of Equalization (BOE) as administrator of this program, effective July 1, 2017.