The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a tobacco sales sting along with the County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program over the past six months.
Sheriff’s officials say the operation resulted in nine stores throughout the county getting caught selling tobacco products to minors.
It’s illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under 21.
The operation utilized three decoys under the age of 21. They reportedly visited 58 stores in unincorporated areas of the county.
Sheriff’s officials say the following stores sold tobacco products to the minor decoys:
- Dollar General, San Miguel
- Oak Hill Market, Paso Robles
- Creston Market, Creston
- Ragged Point Inn, San Simeon (2nd violation)
- Von’s Gas, Nipomo (2nd violation)
- Kachi Smoke Shop, Nipomo (2nd violation)
- San Miguel Market, San Miguel (3rd violation)
- Central Market, Oceano (3rd violation)
- Bob & Jan’s Bottle Shop, Cambria (5th violation)
Sheriff’s officials say the businesses are subject to administrative penalties, including suspension of their ability to sell tobacco and a $1,000 fine for each offense. First and second offenders may participate in a diversion program aimed at reducing license suspensions in exchange for onsite employee education and point-of-sale upgrades that use electronic technology to prevent future sales.