BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Violators selling tobacco to minors had their licenses suspended for up to three months.
In the United States, 3,000 to 4,000 teenagers become regular smokers each day, and 60% of them become addicted to tobacco by the age of 14.
"Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death that kills about 43,000 Californians every year", said Matthew Constantine, Director of Public Health Services, "we must hold those vendors responsible when they violate laws and permits by selling tobacco products to our children."
In an effort to evaluate clerks' willingness to sell tobacco products to minors, volunteer high school students took part in the 2012 Kern County Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey.
This project is organized by the Environmental Health Division Tobacco Education Program/Tobacco Retailer's Permit Program in collaboration with the Kern County Sheriff's Office and the police departments in the cities of Tehachapi, McFarland, Shafter, Arvin, Ridgecrest, Delano, Taft, Bakersfield, and California City.
This countywide compliance check of 480 tobacco retail stores showed a slight decrease in the rate of illegal sales of tobacco products to minors compare to 2011 data.
Repeated violators in areas legislated by the County Tobacco Retailer's Permit Program had their permit suspended for 30-90 days.