Firmer penalties await LA retailers selling tobacco to minors

Los Angles will beef up the penalties for retailers that sell tobacco to underaged customers.
By Simon Smith | Aug 19, 2015
August 18, 2015 - In a hopeful and unanimous move by Los Angeles city lawmakers on Tuesday, businesses selling tobacco to kids will face graverpenalties, as reported by theLA Times.

The imposition of stricter disciplinary measures aimto deter local businesses from selling cigarettes and other tobacco products to children and minors.

According toL.A. Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, this move will ward off about 1,200 minors from falling prey to nicotine addiction every year.

According to a study made bythe California Department of Public Health, LA businesses sell more tobacco products to minors at a higher rate -- 24% higher than the state average,prompting the exertion of stiffer penalties, as shared by O'Farrell.

The new penalties not only include an immediate 30-day suspension of a business establishment's tobacco permit, but will also escalate into a stringof disciplinary suspensions.

In addition, retailers may end up losing their permits altogether if they are found to have sold tobacco to customers under 18 years old four times within the span of five years.

These penalties will also be implemented to businesseswhich allow indoor smoking in enclosed workplaces, which violates state labor law, as well asany other criminal violation connected to the sale of tobacco and other tobacco products under federal, state, or local law.

This is in stark contrast to the rules of the past, wherein businesses selling tobacco to kids would have only gotten letters of reprimand, if they were first-time offenders.

"This will go a long way in reducing those numbers for Los Angeles youth," stated O'Farrell during a city council meeting on Tuesday.

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