Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has suspended tobacco sales at 14 retailers for 30 days as part of his attempt to crack down on establishments selling tobacco products to minors.
In the local area, the licenses to sell tobacco were suspended at the Beverly 76 gas station at 4700 Beverly Blvd. and at K.S. Union 76 gas station, located at 4000 W. 6th St. Both gas stations are located near Western Avenue, and are within a half mile of schools such as St. James’ Episcopal School and Harvard Elementary School. During the suspensions, the retailers are not allowed to display, sell or offer for sale any tobacco products, Feuer said.
Each of the retailers whose licenses were suspended had been caught selling tobacco products to minors. Feuer said officials conduct undercover operations at the sites in which minors attempt to purchase cigarettes and other tobacco products.
“Tobacco use is harmful, and sales to kids is illegal. Selling tobacco to minors is a serious offense,” Feuer said. “With a neighborhood-focused approach, my office is committed to systematically and effectively curtailing tobacco sales to minors.”
Feuer said the number of compliance checks will be expanded by 50 percent citywide to approximately 700 per year. The names of the retailers that have had their licenses suspended, and their proximity to schools, will also be published on the city attorney’s office’s website at www.atty.lacity.org. The city attorney’s office has also established a new hotline at (213)978-7970 for people to report illegal tobacco sales.
Feuer said his office will also soon launch anti-tobacco educational programs at Joseph Le Conte Middle School in Hollywood; Vista Middle School in Van Nuys; Barack Obama Global Preparation Academy in South Los Angeles; and John H. Leichty Middle School in the Westlake/Mac Arthur Park area. Parents will be encouraged to get involved with preventing their children from using tobacco, and informational resources will be made available.
According to statistics provided by the city attorney’s office, the highest amount of illegal tobacco sales — 45.8 percent — occur at doughnut shops. Liquor stores and gas stations account for 24.6 percent and 21.8 percent, respectively.
The city of Los Angeles approved a tobacco retailer licensing ordinance in 2000, making it a misdemeanor to sell tobacco products to minors. The ordinance does not specifically prohibit tobacco sales at locations near schools, although sales at new locations can be prohibited through zoning laws.
Feuer said his office will continue to focus on retailers near educational institutions that violate the ordinance.
“It’s outrageous to us that retailers would sell to minors, and it’s going to stop,” Feuer added.
Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District, joined Feuer to announce that he has authored a new motion to examine ways to better regulate electronic cigarettes — commonly known as e-cigarettes. The city has already approved an ordinance banning e-cigarette sales to minors, and the use of e-cigarettes in all places where traditional smoking is banned.
O’Farrell said the new motion calls on the city attorney’s office to compile a report examining ways to better enforce e-cigarette regulations at retail stores. The motion will first be considered by the council’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging and Los Angeles River Committee later this year.
“We are putting mechanisms in place to curb tobacco sales to minors,” O’Farrell said. “Ninety-nine percent of adult smokers first smoked by age twenty-six, and most by age eighteen. This is an initiative to focus on the health and well-being of our youth.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.