Six SLO County stores sold tobacco to minors during sting

Six stores in unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County sold tobacco products to minors during a recent countywide sting operation conducted by the county health agency’s tobacco control program and the county sheriff’s office.

The compliance check used four local teens, all under the age of 18, who visited 52 retailers throughout the county. Clerks in six of the 52 stores sold a tobacco product to the decoy, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Of the six clerks cited for unlawful sales of tobacco products to a minor, two did not ask the teen for identification prior to completing the sale, the news release said. The search focused on communities including Avila Beach, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos, Nipomo, Oceano, Santa Margarita and San Miguel.

The stores included: Cayucos Liquor at 75 South Ocean Ave.; Oceano Market & Gas at 1711 Front St.; Mission Market & Deli at 1402 Mission St. in San Miguel; San Paso Truck Stop at 81 Wellsona Road in Paso Robles; Singh Chevron at 701 Las Tablas Road in Templeton; and Stop-N-Buy at 459 West Tefft St. in Nipomo.

Sheriff’s officials said the compliance rate was higher during this sting than in a previous check that ended in July, in which 11 businesses sold illegally to a decoy.

The tobacco control program offers an educational program to retailers, which includes information on how to refuse a sale, methods to identify an underage buyer and instruction on properly reading an identification card or driver’s license.

Anyone with questions can call 781-5564.