Operation Storefront: Students test tobacco ID law

Nearly 4,000 kids under age 18 will light their first cigarette today.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 80 percent of all smokers begin smoking before they turn 18 years old.

But how are teens purchasing cigarettes today?

New regulations handed down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require that all retailers ask for photo identification from any person appearing to be under age 27 who attempts to purchase tobacco products (cigarettes and smokeless tobacco).

So the real question is “Are local retailers asking for ID?”

That question was put to the test in November when Caldwell County High students from the Champions Against Drugs Youth Council conducted Operation Storefront.

“We took seven students to 17 Princeton businesses that sell tobacco products. We did this in November to coincide with the American Cancer Society’s Great American Smoke Out,” said Denise Pool of the COPE Youth Center.

Collaborative Partners in Operation Storefront who also serve as sponsors for the Champions Youth Council are representatives from the school district’s family resource centers –– HOPE, COPE and Migrant/STARS Education.

Pool said out of the 17 stores, two attempted to sell tobacco products to the underage students.

“Two out of 17 doesn’t sound bad, but it is two too many,” she said.

The two stores, which Pool did not identify, did ask the students –– one age 15 and one 16 –– for their identification.

“But the clerks either didn’t do the math or didn’t really look at the birth date,” said Pool. “I think some store clerks will assume if they ask for an ID and the kid presents one, he or she must be of age.

“But that’s not the case. The retailers must tell all their employees to pay close attention to the dates and carefully do the math or they may end up selling to a minor.”

According to the FDA, retailers who violate regulations under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, will be subject to civil money penalties, warning letters, seizures, injunctions and/or criminal prosecution.

Pool said during Operation Storefront, she was alarmed to see that four additional retailers selected the tobacco products requested by students and placed them on the counter before asking for identification.

“That says to me that they came close to making a sale, that maybe the ID was an afterthought,” said Pool. “When any person who appears to be underage asks for tobacco products, the ID should be the first thing that a retailer asks for.”

During Operation Storefront, no money was actually exchanged between students and retailers.

Pool said those retailers who “carded” students were immediately handed a card that read “thank you.”

Those retailers who attempted to sell tobacco products to the underage students were given information on the illegal practice of selling to minors and regulations they should be following.

“The whole purpose of this activity was to bring awareness and inform local retailers of the illegal practice of selling tobacco products to our underage population,” said Pool.

source: timesleader.net

Similar Posts:

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!