Florida Retailers Get Educated

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Police are testing education as a means to smoke out convenience stores that sell cigarettes and alcohol to minors.

About 20 store clerks and owners previously cited for violations attended a class in September called Slashing Underage Sales, sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Police Community Support Division and the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco, according to the (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel.

The focus of the hour-long session, which spared participants from having charges pressed against them, provided details on how to properly identify young customers and the tricks teenagers often use to make illegal purchases.

Last year, undercover police inspected 43 convenience stores and gas stations, making seven arrests for the illegal sale of alcohol. In addition, 16 out of 72 stores were cited for selling tobacco to minors, the report said.

Storeowners were given videos to show their employees. The class recounted state statutes on the retail sale of tobacco and alcohol, penalties, how to control display of products, checking identification, calculating date of birth and instructing convenience store employees.

Participants were given a study packet with videos, CDs and lesson plans.

Selling cigarettes or alcohol to minors is a misdemeanor offense in Florida that could carry a fine, a sentence of up to a year in jail or both. Repeat offenders can risk losing their license to sell alcohol.
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