Meeting held in Lemon Grove to address selling tobacco to minors

LEMON GROVE (KUSI) — Lemon Grove city leaders are sick of stores selling tobacco and nicotine products to youth under 21 years of age.

And they know the stores are doing it, because they’ve sent in young-looking decoys to catch them in the act.

Last year 26 stores were targeted and 31-percent sold to youth who didn’t have a valid ID.

That’s significantly higher than the state average. Public health officials are trying to keep young people away from vapes and e-cigarettes which are usually sold with kid-friendly, enticing candy-like flavors.

It’s why El Cajon, San Diego, San Marcos, Solana Beach and Vista all have a tobacco licensing program, and Lemon Grove wants in.

Creating a tobacco licensing program means stores that sell these products not only have to apply for a state license to operate, but a tobacco retail license as well, which in Lemon Grove, would cost $250 per year.

That money would then go towards paying for the program’s enforcement, like sending in decoys to catch the stores that sell to minors, and dishing out pricey fines or revoking licenses entirely. There are 31 stores in Lemon Grove  this would apply to.

Staff is going to incorporate the feedback from residents, then report back to council in December. That’s when council can choose to adopt the new law.

Categories: Local San Diego News