For year’s tobacco shops and convenience stores have been caught selling tobacco products to minors through a decoy program. Although we had hoped selling to minors wouldn’t be an issue for the electronic cigarette industry, it is. In fact, there are many bad seeds or those just looking to make a quick buck without any attention to the law or professionalism in the way that they conduct business.
As a result, deputies from the Sheriff’s Office in San Mateo, CA., as well as officers spanning across 3 more cities in the area have teamed up to crack down with a full on sting targeting vapor shops in late March, which was a plan to expand their typical decoy program that went after those selling tobacco products to minors.
The decoys tried to purchase from 187 merchants, and only 19 were cited for selling tobacco products to a minor. A third of those attempts were made trying to purchase e-cigarettes, but only two of the 19 offenders actually sold e-liquid to a minor. Those numbers are certainly much better for vapor products, but the ultimate goal is to eliminate selling to a minor completely.
Typically, the first offense selling to a minor would result in a 100 to 300 fine, but the Sheriffs deputy claims that no one in the county has been jailed for selling vapor products to a minor. However, until Federal Regulations are in place, county prosecutors are restricted to imposing the lesser infractions. To combat this, state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, has proposed legislation that would offer stricter penalties to those who sell e-cigarettes to minors.
Spread awareness in your area to prevent the selling of vapor products to minors.