A recent sting by the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office resulted in the arrests of five people for the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors, District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced Tuesday.
In an effort to combat the issue of tobacco sales to minors, the District Attorney’s Office works in cooperation with the Yolo County Health Department to serve the city of Davis and the unincorporated areas of Yolo County. These efforts are funded entirely by licensing fees collected from businesses that sell tobacco within those jurisdictions.
As part of this program, district attorney staff have received training on issues of compliance so they can determine whether businesses with licenses to sell tobacco products are operating lawfully.
Rather than trying to “catch” a business violating the law by selling tobacco products to underage customers, the district attorney and Health Department focus on compliance instead, a news release said. DA staff first work to educate businesses about compliance issues they may have, visiting the businesses and offering a “report card” on matters that may need correction or improvement.
During these outreach visits, the businesses are informed about the goals of compliance and that underage tobacco purchase operations will be conducted as part of the overall illegal tobacco sales cessation effort.
Most of those arrested during the underage tobacco purchase operations in December and January will be able to choose alternative sentencing options, including diversion or participation in Neighborhood Court. The businesses where the clerks were employed face administrative sanctions and fines.
“We have a long-standing partnership with the Health Department to try to enhance the health of our community,” Reisig said. “These efforts are an important opportunity to educate our youth about healthy choices, but also serve as opportunity to help the business community understand their role and responsibility in the health of our youth.”