Board of Supes to require retailers to get license to sell tobacco in Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ – The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors this afternoon voted 4-1 to require retailers to obtain a license to sell tobacco, joining dozens of other communities statewide.

The effort is aimed at keeping cigarettes out of the hands of minors. Supervisor Mark Stone was the lone dissenter. The county says a recent survey demonstrated county retailers’ poor compliance with laws prohibiting sales to those under 18 years of age.

“It shocked everybody,” said Bob Kennedy, the county’s environmental health director.

The new license applies to all of the county’s 104 retailers who sell cigarettes, and will cost $318 annually.

The county hopes to run at least one compliance check on businesses per year, with first-time violators facing a 60-day suspension of tobacco sales.

Those who are cites four times over five years can lose their tobacco license.

About 80 cities and counties statewide require licenses to sell tobacco products, including Watsonville.

Kennedy said the cities of Santa Cruz and Capitola have expressed interested in adopting similar laws, but Scotts Valley has so far declined to join the effort.


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