Three shops fail tobacco compliance test

A recent tobacco age compliance operation found three Hollister businesses out of compliance with checking identification: Diaz Liquors, Home Town Gasoline, and Shop and Save Gas and Retail.

On October 12, 2017, the Hollister Fire Department and Code Enforcement Division, along with San Benito County Public Health Services and youth decoys, ranging in ages 18 to 20, conducted compliance operations at all 23 retail establishments that sell tobacco products in Hollister.

Code enforcement staff previously visited all 23 tobacco retailers in the city during June and July to remind owners and/or management in writing of the legal age limit, which was raised from 18 to 21 on June 9, 2016 by California legislators.

“In order to prevent youth tobacco use, comprehensive regulations such as 308(a) (1) PC that reduce the affordability and accessibility of tobacco products must be implemented or enforced,” said San Benito County Public Health Officer Dr. Gale Newel. “I commend our policy makers for passing a strict retail license ordinance and local enforcement agency for making tobacco compliance operations a priority for our community.”

During the October compliance operations, decoys were instructed to purchase a tobacco product from the retailers. Decoys were instructed to provide retailers with identification if asked that would demonstrate they were under age. A sale was made if the cashier did not check identification and provided the tobacco product to a decoy.

The operation found 20 businesses in compliance and three not in compliance. The three not in compliance were Diaz Liquors, Home Town Gasoline and Shop and Save Gas and Retail Market.

Citations were issued for a violation of 308(a) (1) of the California Penal Code, a misdemeanor. The penalty for the citation could include a fine of up to $200 for the first offense, $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for the third offense.

The City of Hollister’s Code Enforcement Division will be continuing to run decoy operations in an effort to increase the compliance of local retailers.

For additional information related to this compliance operation, please contact city code enforcement at (831) 636-4356 or county public health services at (831) 637-5367 or go to their website at https://hhsa.cosb.us/divisions/public-health.

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