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N.C. store clerks cited for selling tobacco to minors

Posted February 3, 2009

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— Alcohol Law Enforcement agents last year cited 1,080 store clerks in 95 counties for selling tobacco to minors, the state agency said Tuesday.

Agents conducted more than 6,500 compliance checks across the state, including 1,616 in the Raleigh and Fayetteville districts, and issued 299 citations in the 20 counties that comprise those districts.

They include Chatham, Cumberland, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Orange, Vance, Wake and Wayne counties.

“While the majority of store clerks properly check IDs and refuse to sell to minors, too many clerks are still selling without properly checking,” ALE Director Bill Chandler said.

State law prohibits selling tobacco to a minor and makes doing so a misdemeanor. Penalties can be as high as a $1,000 fine, community service or jail time.

ALE, which has 117 agents, offers programs to educate the clerks at retail outlets on how to check IDs and prevent sales to minors. Agents also distribute signs and brochures related to the state law and the responsibilities of retail merchants.

Each month, ALE agents make unannounced compliance checks as part of the state’s Tobacco Education and Compliance Check Program.


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  • 68_polara Feb 3, 2009

    Compliance checks use folks that look much older and are made up to look much older than their age it's basically entrapment. How do they get away with it?

  • WHEEL Feb 3, 2009

    117 Agents presumably with vehicles and apparently paid assistants that look over 18 but obviously are not spending all this time entraping convenience store clerks in an effort to stop underage smoking. What a foolish waste of time and money.

  • supes Feb 3, 2009

    I used to work in retail and had to deal with these investigations. They will send volunteer kids in who look 18-25 during peak business hours when the clerk is busy with other customers so they have a better chance of "success". I got no problem keeping tobacco from schoolkids, but let's make it illegal for them to possess tobacco and enforce that as well. Until they do that, it's just a money making scheme to me.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Feb 3, 2009

    Let me also mention that in Va. there is almost no such thing as these stings on alcohol or cigarettes. My insurance rep. says NC is causing them all kinds of problems with retailers but Va. has no issue. Its all about the cash.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Feb 3, 2009

    You folks are missing the point in these ALE stings. They are putting fines on the owners for the actions of the clerks. This is a money making scheme for the ABC Commission. They are even worse on alcohol. The store gets the big fine, the clerk goes to court and gets a slap on the hand.

  • Caveman93 Feb 3, 2009

    What a waste of money. Let's try and enforce some fiscal discipline at our state level first before we go after store clerks who make $5.50 and hour!! Jeez.

  • Frizz Feb 3, 2009

    When I was fourteen I was over six feet tall, weighed over two hundred and was the lowest bass in the church choir. I've NEVER been carded for ANYTHING.

  • 2bornot2b Feb 3, 2009

    Where are the kids getting the money to pay for the taxes on these things?

  • iron fist Feb 3, 2009

    I agree with miketroll, they cannot stop people from smoking if they want to smoke

  • miketroll3572 Feb 3, 2009

    What a waste of money that could be used somewhere else.....