State cites 371 stores across N.C. for tobacco sales to minors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 1, 2009

By Shavonne Potts
Alcohol Law Enforcement agents conducted more than 2,000 tobacco compliance checks across the state for a a six-month period and cited more than 370 vendors, including several local stores.
The N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division conducted 2,366 tobacco checks from Jan. 1 through June 30, the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety said.
The ALE cited 371 stores in 70 counties across North Carolina for selling tobacco or tobacco products to a minor.
The following local businesses were cited:
– Renegade Tobacco Co., Mocksville, Davie County.
– River Trail Mercantile, Advance, Davie County.
– TR’s Convenience Store, Mocksville, Davie County.
– Yorks Exxon, Mocksville, Davie County.
– C and E Food Mart, Kannapolis, Cabarrus County.
– CVS Pharmacy, Rockwell, Rowan County.
– Carolina Fast Mart 8, Kannapolis, Rowan County.
– CVS Pharmacy, Concord, Cabarrus County.
– Eastside Kwik Stop, Granite Quarry, Rowan County.
– Fastop Market #304, Salisbury, Rowan County.
– Food Lion 1621, Concord, Cabarrus County.
– Jiffy Quik, Kannapolis, Rowan County.
– Latin Mix 3, Spencer, Rowan County.
– On the Run 109, Concord, Cabarrus County.
– Rushco Food Stores 16, Salisbury, Rowan County.
– Z and H Mart, Salisbury, Rowan County.
“Every month, ALE agents are making sure retail establishments are checking IDs and not selling tobacco to minors,” said ALE Director Bill Chandler. “Store clerks who sell tobacco to a minor will find that the penalties can be stiff.”
A district court judge may fine a violator up to $1,000 or order community punishment of up to 30 days if the defendant has no prior convictions. If the store clerk does not have prior convictions, the judge can also order jail time. Selling tobacco to an underage person is a Class II misdemeanor.
ALE helps to educate clerks at retail outlets on how to check identifications and prevent sales to minors through the Be A Responsible Seller (BARS) training program. Agents also distribute signs and brochures related to the state law and the responsibilities of retail merchants.
Each month, Alcohol Law Enforcement agents make unannounced compliance checks as part of the state’s Tobacco Education and Compliance Check Program.
ALE works in partnership with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. The program is funded by the N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund. The N.C. Retail Merchants Association and the N.C. Association of Convenience Stores also support the tobacco program.
ALE is an agency within the N.C. Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. It has 115 agents across the state who enforce alcohol and tobacco laws.