California State Law - Self-Service Displays: The Stake Act

Self-Service Displays

What is prohibited by The Stake Act?

self-serviceCalifornia Business and Professions Code 22962

It is illegal to sell, offer for sale, or display any tobacco products or paraphernalia, including electronic smoking devices, through a self-service display, which is an open display of tobacco products or paraphernalia that is accessible to the public without the assistance of a clerk. The law allows local governments to pass and enforce laws that are stricter than state law.


If you are a tobacco store that (1) primarily sells tobacco products; (2) generates more than 60% of its gross revenue annually from the sale of tobacco products and paraphernalia (3) prohibits individuals under 21 years of age on the premises unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian; and (4) does not sell alcohol or food for consumption on the premises, you may display pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, and dipping tobacco in a self-service display. However, only the following cigars are permitted for self-service display in tobacco stores:

  • Single, unwrapped cigars.
  • Single, individually wrapped cigars only if they are sold from the manufacturer’s original box, bundle, or other container.
  • Multiple cigars only if they are not in a sealed box, bundle, tin, or multiple-pack container.
  • Multiple cigars in sealed boxes, bundles, tins, or multiple-pack containers only if they contain at least 6 cigars.


First Violation: $400 - $600

Second Violation (within a 5-year period): $900 - $1,000

Third Violation (within a 5-year period): $1,200 - $1,800

Fourth Violation (within a 5-year period): $3,000 - $4,000

Fifth or Subsequent Violation (within a 5-year period): $5,000 - $6,000


21 Code of Federal Regulations Section 1140.14

Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco may be sold only via a direct, face-to-face exchange. The use of vending machines and self-service displays are not permitted. The prohibition of sales from vending machines also includes cigars, pipe tobacco, hookah tobacco, gels, dissolvables, and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) containing anything made or derived from tobacco.


Mail-order sales are permitted. Vending machines and self-service displays are permitted in facilities where the retailer ensures that no person under the age of 18 is present or allowed to enter at any time.


Any person who violates this provision shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $15,000 for each violation and up to $1 million for multiple violations ruled on in a single proceeding. Retailers who violate this provision and have a training program in place that complies with standards developed by the FDA will be subject to a set of different penalties.

This website and all of its published content is strictly for users age 21 or above. Not all legal requirements related to tobacco products are discussed in the contents of this site. Please remember that it is your responsibility to comply with all applicable provisions of the FD&C Act, and other federal, state, or local requirements that apply to you.
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