The Philadelphia Board of Health on Thursday night unanimously approved new limits on the sale of tobacco products in the city.

One of the main restrictions - limiting the number of tobacco-retail permits in an area based on population - was modified in response to complaints from businesses including Wawa Inc.

The city will now use U.S. census figures for "commuter-adjusted daytime population" rather than residential population.

The so-called density cap, which will limit permits to one seller per 1,000 people - not residents - will take effect on Feb. 15.

That means more retailers will be allowed to sell tobacco products in Center City, which sees a swell of workers during the day, than in more residential neighborhoods, whose populations shrink during the day because of people going to work elsewhere.

Conversely, fewer retailers will be allowed to sell tobacco products in those residential neighborhoods.

"It seemed appropriate from a business perspective, and we saw also that there was some public health benefit, too," said Health Commissioner Thomas A. Farley.

In parts of North Philadelphia, for example, there are three tobacco sellers for every 1,000 residents.

Another key change starting Jan. 1 will be a prohibition on new permits to sellers within 500 feet of a school. Businesses already operating within the prohibited zone will be allowed to continue, but will not be able to transfer their permits.

A minor exception was made for tobacco-specialty retailers, such as cigar shops, which can apply within the first 180 days of 2017 for a one-time transfer if they want to sell their businesses.

Officials said there were no more than six such businesses in the city.

Other changes taking effect Jan. 1 include raising permit fees from $50 to $300 to fund tobacco-sales enforcement.

Retailers that get three violations in two years for selling to underage buyers will lose their permits for a year.

During compliance checks last year, 23 percent of tobacco retailers sold to underage buyers, city officials said.

"I think this is very exciting," Farley said after the regulations were approved.

The restrictions are intended to "prevent the next generation of children from being the next generation of smokers," he said.

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