Stores busted for selling tobacco to minors
The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program in coordination with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a recent countywide tobacco sales compliance check operation which ended on Tuesday.
The enforcement activity utilized underage decoys to regulate illegal sales of tobacco products to minors and resulted in eight businesses selling to a decoy, a 14.29 percent illegal sales rate, in the unincorporated areas of the county.
The illegal sales rate decreased from 25.93 percent to 14.29 percent, in the latest round of monitoring. The compliance checks focused on unincorporated communities including but not limited to San Miguel, Santa Margarita, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos, Avila Beach, Oceano and Nipomo.
The incorporated cities within the county did not participate in these sting operations. With the assistance of two local teen decoys, 56 tobacco retailer locations were visited throughout the county. Eight of the 56 retailers illegally sold tobacco to the decoy.
Under Penal Code § 308(a), it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. The eight stores that engaged in the illegal sale of tobacco products to a minor with no prior violations were:
1) Cambria Chevron, 2194 Main Street, Cambria;
2) Cambria General Store, 850 Main Street, Cambria;
3) Cookie Crock Market, 1240 Knollwood Drive, Cambria;
4) La Salsa Market, 120 N. 3rd Street, Shandon;
5) Pier Liquor, 393 Pier Avenue, Oceano;
6) San Miguel Market & Deli, 1299 Mission Street #2, San Miguel.
The following stores sustained their second violation:
7) Baywood Market,1297 2nd Street, Los Osos;
8) Templeton Chevron, 701 Las Tablas Road, Templeton.
Both second violation businesses had sales clerks that were repeat offenders. These clerks were responsible for conducting illegal sales in earlier sting operations and had been previously prosecuted for the same offense.
The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program offers an educational program to retailers with training on how to refuse a sale, methods to identify an underage buyer and instruction on properly reading an identification card or driver’s license. Members of the public or media with questions regarding the sale of tobacco products to minors are encouraged to call the Tobacco Control Program at (805) 781-5564.
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