Many businesses fail to comply with Alcohol and tobacco law
Under-aged alcohol, tobacco and liquid nicotine sales tested by undercover operation.
Sheriff Ken Mascara announced an undercover operation throughout the weekend. It tested 171 retail locations on their ability to comply with state law. The laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol to those under 21 and the sale of tobacco and liquid nicotine to those under 18.
“Of the 171 locations that were tested, 28 failed to comply with state law,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “The overall non-compliance rate for sales for this operation was 17 percent.”
It included restaurants, bars, convenience, grocery, liquor stores and vapor shops.
According to the Sheriff, School Resource Deputies carefully supervised under-aged St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Explorer volunteers who tested store clerks and wait staff by trying to purchase the prohibited products without being ordered to show proof that they were above the legal age.
Those that failed were issued notices to appear in court for the misdemeanor violation.
According to the Sheriff, the most problematic offenders in the operation were the vapor shops who sell liquid nicotine.
“There is no doubt that these nicotine-delivery devices and liquid nicotine products are deliberately marketed to young people,” Sheriff Mascara said. “They are sold in flavors that target teens in flavors such as banana split, cotton candy, Kool-Aid, gummy bears and skittles or with names found in popular cartoon characters.”
The locations that passed compliance tests were awarded a decal to display in the store. They were certified them for 2017 as a “partner in responsibility.” This is part of the Federal Trade Commissions “We Don’t Serve Teens” consumer education campaign.
“More than 180,000 kids visit the ER each year due to alcohol-related problems,” Mascara said. “Additionally, 27 people die each and every day in America as a result of drunk driving.”
Here are facts about under-age drinking by the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility:
Since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began recording alcohol-related statistics in 1982:
- the number of persons under 21 killed in drunk driving crashes decreased 80% from the record high of 5,215 in 1982 to 1,021 in 2015.
- These fatalities account for 10% of the drunk driving fatalities in the U.S.
More information is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/