Local Teens Help Fight Sale of Tobacco to Minors
California Governor Jerry Brown just signed assembly bill 1301 into law, which would require the state to suspend and revoke a store’s license if they are repeatedly convicted of selling tobacco products to minors. If a store is convicted three times in a five-year-window, its license would be suspended for 45 days. Five convictions in a five-year-window would result in license revocation.(Source: Patch.com)
This law was introduced to the California legislature in 2011 after Assemblyman Jerry Hill, representative from the 19th District, met with teenagers from the Youth Leadership Institute of San Mateo (YLI). The YLI is a Northern California organization whose mission is to build communities where young people and their adult allies come together to create positive social change. The YLI youth encouraged the assemblyman to help them in their effort to curb sales of tobacco to minors in California’s 37,000 retail locations.
Current law only results in monetary penalties for stores that get caught selling tobacco products to minors. The California Department of Public Health (DPH) conducts sting operations to catch stores that are selling to minors. If they catch and convict a store the penalties range from $400 for a first violation to several thousand dollars for subsequent violations. DPH conducts thousands of stings each year throughout the state resulting in over 600 convictions annual.
Each day 6,000 children under the age of 18 start smoking. Of those, 2,000 will keep smoking. That is 800,000 new teen smokers every year.If current tobacco use patterns continue, an estimated 6.4 million children will die prematurely from a smoking-related disease.