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Teens Face Tickets

EDMOND, Okla.Convenience store retailers in Oklahoma received a new weapon in their plight to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors as the Edmond City Council approved an ordinance that allows police officers to ticket tobacco users who are under 18 years old. The ordinance prohibits both the sale to and possession of tobacco products by minors. The penalty for a first offense will be a fine up to $100, followed by fines up to $200 for the second offense and up to $300 for the third offense. Police were able to seize tobacco products from minors before the ordinance passed, but weren't able to ticket them. Rep. Ray Vaughn (R-Edmond) said he supports the ordinance change. "This will allow our own police force to enforce a state law," he said. "It's a win-win situation."School resource officer at each of the Edmond high schools will be key in enforcing the ordinance ticketing underage students caught smoking on school property. According to the new ordinance, students who smoke at schools will be punished by the school as well as receive a fine if they are caught. The shared-responsibility approach to underage smoking, along with aggressive training programs, is helping retailers identify and catch minors trying to buy tobacco products in convenience stores. Similar measures have been introduced throughout the United States, in areas such as Los Angles, Boston, Chicago and Indiana.
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