LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — City officials Tuesday revealed a new policy to curb the illegal sale of both tobacco and e-cigarette products to minors.
City Attorney Mike Feuer and Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell issued a 30-day suspension period to 14 accused retailers that have reportedly sold tobacco to minors twice within the past five years.
According to officials, all of the accused merchants are located within a half mile of a school in Los Angeles.
During the suspension period, retailers are not allowed to display, offer or sell cigarettes and other tobacco products to any customers, regardless of age.
“Selling cigarettes to our kids is not only harmful, it is illegal,” said Feuer.
The city also plans to increase the number of citywide compliance checks to 700 retailers annually, authorities said.
According to city officials, the community will be educated through the publication of an online list of problem merchants that repeatedly sell to minors.
“Healthier communities is one of my top priorities,” said O’Farrell. “I want to be sure we have the policy in place to protect young Angelenos and the right enforcement tools to make an impact.”
Feuer said they have created a pilot education program about tobacco sales to minors for parents who will work with his office to help identify these problem retailers.
The program will be conducted at Vista Middle School in Van Nuys, Barack Obama Global Prepatory Middle School in South Los Angeles, Joseph Le Conte Middle School in Hollywood and John H. Leichty Middle School in Westlake.
“With a neighborhood-focused approach, my office is committed to systematically and effectively curtailing tobacco sales to minors,” Feuer said.
Councilwoman Nury Martinez and O’Farrell also introduced a motion to test the effectiveness of existing tobacco enforcement programs, officials said.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the policy prohibits retailers from selling tobacco products to minors, requires identification shown for those appearing to be under the age of 18 and issues age-of-sale warning signs to be displayed in all stores.
The CDPH states that all violators are subject to criminal fines ranging from $200 to $6,000, depending on jurisdiction.