Templeton’s A-1 Liquor busted for selling tobacco to minor
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 February 9, 2013.
The enforcement activity utilized underage decoys to regulate illegal sales of tobacco products to minors and resulted in a 5.88% illegal sales rate in the unincorporated areas of the county. The illegal sales rate has steadily improved, currently yielding a 72% improvement over results ending in July 2012, where 21.15% of businesses sold unlawfully to the decoy.
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 four local teen (under age 18) decoys, fifty-one (51) tobacco retailer locations were visited throughout the county.
Three clerks of the 51 stores sold tobacco to the decoy. Of the three clerks cited for unlawful sales of tobacco products to a minor, all asked for identification but each failed to prevent the sale. Under Penal Code § 308(a), it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. During the compliance check enforcement operations, the 3 stores that engaged in the illegal sale of tobacco to a minor were:
1) A-1 Liquor, 105 South Main Street, Templeton;
2) Johnson’s Market & Gifts, 1262 Pacific Boulevard, Oceano; and
3) Oceano Market & Gas, 1711 Front Street, Oceano.
Of the businesses listed, only Oceano Market & Gas had a prior tobacco sales to a minor violation – the first occurring in September 2012. Additionally, one newly licensed retailer (not listed) was cited for two violations discovered by enforcement officials: unlawful self-service display of tobacco products and for failure to post signage / exclude minors from a business selling drug paraphernalia.
The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program offers an educational program to retailers that include 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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