Tobacco retail licensing is responsible public health policy that reduces underage tobacco use. Our county Board of Supervisors adopted such a policy in 2008. Since then, our Sheriff’s Office has worked to complete compliance checks monitoring the sales of tobacco to underage buyers in the unincorporated areas of the county.
The San Luis Obispo County Tobacco Control Coalition congratulates our Sheriff’s Office on recent countywide compliance checks in which stores were cited for selling in The Tribune article “Clerks cited for selling tobacco to minors at 11 stores around SLO County” on July 11. The 2012 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on “Preventing Tobacco Use among Youth and Young Adults” concluded that 88 percent of adult smokers used their first cigarette before age 18. With completion of more compliance checks, the county should see a decrease in its underage sales rate, keeping more teens from using tobacco.
A tobacco retail license requires businesses to pay a yearly licensing fee, which allows them to sell tobacco. Fees collected from the licensing policy are used to fund compliance checks that monitor the sale of tobacco to minors.