Press Releases
Tony Cipolla
(805) 781 4547
For Immediate Release

Type of Incident:
Tobacco Sting
Date and Time of Incident:
Place of Occurrence:
Unincorporated Area of San Luis Obispo County
Victim Information:
Suspect Information:
Details of News Release:
TOBACCO STING CONDUCTED IN SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY - 3 STORES CAUGHT SELLING TO MINORS, SALES RATE CONTINUES IMPROVEMENT. The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program in coordination with the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a recent countywide tobacco sales compliance check operation which ended on May 3, 2013. The enforcement activity utilized underage decoys to regulate illegal sales of tobacco products to minors and resulted in a 5.17% illegal sales rate in the unincorporated areas of the county. The illegal sales rate has steadily improved, currently yielding a 75% improvement over initial results ending in July 2012 (where 21.15% of businesses sold unlawfully to the decoy). The compliance checks focused on unincorporated communities including but not limited to San Miguel, Santa Margarita, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos, Avila Beach, Oceano and Nipomo. The incorporated cities within the county did not participate in these sting operations. With the assistance of three local teen (under age 18) decoys, fifty-eight (58) tobacco retailer locations were visited throughout the county. Three clerks of the 58 retailers illegally sold tobacco to the decoy. Of the three clerks cited for unlawful sales of tobacco products to a minor, two did not ask for identification and completed the sale. Under Penal Code § 308(a), it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. During the compliance check enforcement operations, the 3 stores that engaged in the illegal sale of tobacco products to a minor were: 1) Monarch Dunes Golf Course Pro Shop, 1606 Trilogy Parkway, Nipomo; 2) Mike’s Tin Can, 8234 Carrisa Highway, California Valley; and 3) Avila Mercantile and Grocery, 354 Front Street, Avila Beach. Of the businesses listed, only Avila Mercantile & Grocery had a prior tobacco sales to a minor violation – the first occurring in June 2012. Mike’s Tin Can was additionally cited for two violations discovered by tobacco enforcement officials: County Code violations for engaging in business without a business license and for sales of tobacco products without a County issued Tobacco Retailer’s License. The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency's Tobacco Control Program offers an educational program to retailers that include how to refuse a sale, methods to identify an underage buyer and instruction on properly reading an identification card or driver’s license. Members of the public or media with questions regarding the sale of tobacco products to minors are encouraged to call the Tobacco Control Program at (805) 781-5564.
Prepared By: tcipolla
Released: Monday 05/13/2013 4:42:54 PM
Watch Commander: