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Retail Tobacco Stores

Retail Stores

The exemption for a retail tobacco store to allow smoking indoors is not automatic, and must be requested annually. Failure to respond to requests for information from the Ohio Department of Health results in automatic denial of exemption.

Application Process

The Ohio Department of Health receives a signed/notarized affidavit from a business that is seeking exemption for that year. A questionnaire is sent to each business for which an affidavit is received that must be completed and returned to the Ohio Department of Health. Clarification or additional information (such as gross sales information for the previous year) may be requested from the business and must be sent to the Ohio Department of Health. The Ohio Department of Health reviews all information provided and sends a letter to each business that either grants or denies exemption for one year.

Other Exemption Requirements

The business must meet the definition of a retail tobacco store in O.R.C. 3794.01 and OAC 3701-52-01:

  • The retail tobacco store must be the only business located in a freestanding building if the business is established after Dec. 7, 2006. 
  • The retail tobacco store cannot be a department or section of another establishment in that building.

Smoke from a retail tobacco store (that has been granted exemption) must not migrate into an area where smoking is prohibited, such as a neighboring place of employment or public place. This can result in a finding of violation and/or loss of exemption status.


Additional information can be found in OAC 3701-52-05 and  Appendix A and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).