For the past three years, the police department has participated in a Tobacco Enforcement Grant, which provides for officer payroll costs while conducting tobacco ‘buys’ by underage individuals. This year, ‘e-cigarettes’ were included for the first time in the program. We feel the program is working due to a sizeable reduction in tobacco and related illegal items being made available to underage persons.
Here are the last three year’s figures:
2014—– 46 attempts with 27 buys ———an average of 58%
2015—–79 attempts with 18 buys———-an average of 23%
2016—–66 attempts with 6 buys————an average of 9%
In 2016, the officers completed all 66 attempts covering 100% of all the retailers in the city.
Statistically, before this program started, there was little regard for selling tobacco to minors in our community. Now the retailers and more important, the employees of these locations know that there are severe consequences for selling tobacco and e-cigarettes to minors. Most retailers have a personnel policy to terminate the offending employee immediately. The local court costs on a guilty plea or finding have a minimum fine and court cost of $320.00 for the first offense. The retailer is also receiving a fine from the state in each case.
We are confident that the program is working to stem the sales of tobacco to minors.
Tobacco companies fund this grant through a program of the Texas School Safety Center out of the Texas State University, San Marcos.
Although not grant funded, the department is working to initiate the same type program regarding underage alcoholic beverage sales.
Chief of Police