Local News

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

Posted February 3, 2009 11:41 a.m. EST
Updated February 3, 2009 4:49 p.m. EST

— 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.