Sonora, CA — A recent study found several stores in Tuolumne County sold tobacco products to teens.
The Tuolumne County Public Health Department conducted a recent Youth Purchase Survey and found that three of the 19 randomly selected retailers sold tobacco products to a minor, which is a rate of 16%. Tuolumne County’s illegal tobacco sales rate has remained below 30% for the past three years. Health Officials say a statewide illegal tobacco sales rate above 20% can jeopardize a country’s federal grant money that support services including drug and alcohol treatment and after school programs for at-risk youth.
Tuolumne County Public Health Officer, Dr. Todd Stolp says this surveys findings are right in line with the Tuolumne County Health Assessment Report the came out in January. Stolp says that report showed, “Tuolumne County has one of the highest smoking rates in the state. 26% of residents were smoking cigarettes and almost 50% had at least one person using cigarettes within the household.”
Stolp says retailers are notified of the survey results. Each store found selling to minors was given an informational packet including signage that restricts the sale of tobacco to minors. Stolp says the surveys goal is to educate instead discipline retailers. However, he says they do send the name of the stores that do sell to minor to the proper authorities.