PACIFIC COUNTY — The end of May, Pacific County staff and four youth volunteers completed a series of tobacco retailer compliance checks across Pacific County. During these most recent checks, 23 establishments were part of a random sample selected by the Department of Health (DOH) as part of the SYNAR checks that are completed across Washington state each year. 

Unfortunately, six of the locations sold cigarettes to the minors completing the checks. The locations that sold are: The 101 Quick Stop (Chevron) in Raymond, Minit Market in North Cove, South Bend Food Mart, Chinook Country Store, Ilwaco Market and Deli, and Okie’s Sentry in Ocean Park. 

According to Melissa Sexton, with the Tobacco Prevention Program in Pacific County, “While I am very pleased with the locations that refused to sale cigarettes to minors, I am disappointed to see six different retailers sell cigarettes to my youth volunteers. That is six sales too many.”

The businesses that did not sell included: B&W Foods in Lebam; Menlo Store in Menlo; Raymond Grocery and Deli, Riverdale Grocery & Deli, Everybody’s Supermarket, and 101 Shell, all of Raymond; Pioneer Grocery in South Bend; The Local Store and Gas in Grayland; Johnson Arco and One Stop Market and Okie’s Select Market, both of Naselle; Short Stop Store-N-Deli, Seaview One Stop, Sid’s Supermarket, all in Seaview; Red Dog Tattoo and Smoke Shop, Gas-N-Grub (Scoopers), Pioneer Market and Deli, all in Long Beach; and Surfside Mini Mart/Video in Ocean Park. 

Sexton states, “When retailers refuse to sell tobacco products to minors they show their concern for the youth of our community as well as their commitment to uphold the law.” 

Federal law requires all 50 states to do random tobacco compliance checks annually. Pacific County is contracted each year to conduct these checks and to educate tobacco retail owners/managers. Local youth volunteers are between the ages of 15 and 17 and have to have a permit or license. “The license they use to purchase the tobacco produces is not fake, it is the typical vertical license that indicates a person is under 18.” The youth are not allowed to coerce or “trick the retailers” into selling tobacco. Program staff accompanies the youth during the checks and provide feedback to the clerk following the check. A first time offense results in a $100 fine for the owner of the store and a $50 fine for the clerk that sold the tobacco product. Repeat offenders are fined up to $1,000 dollars and may have their license to sell tobacco products suspended. Retailers who refuse to sell tobacco to minors are congratulated and given a certificate. For more information on the tobacco prevention program, please contact Melissa Sexton at 875-9343. 

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