SANTA MARGARITA — A Santa Margarita store was one of 11 in the unincorporated areas of San Luis Obispo County that sold tobacco to a minor during a recent sting operation.
According to a release from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department, Margarita Mercantile, 22304 G St., along with 10 others sold tobacco products to a teenage decoy during a check that ended July 5. That’s a 21.15-percent illegal sales rate among stores checked. With the assistance of three county teenagers under age 18, 52 establishments were checked.
Of the 11 clerks who were cited for unlawful sales of tobacco to a minor, only one did not ask the minor for identification.
The other locations that sold tobacco to a decoy were Avila Mercantile and Grocery in Avila Beach, Bob & Jan’s Bottle Shop in Cambria, Paul’s Liquor in Cayucos, Ralphs in Los Osos, and San Simeon Mini Mart in San Simeon, as well as four places in Nipomo: CVS, Vons, La Placita Market and Super Carniceria La Chiquita.
These compliance checks focused on unincorporated communities including San Miguel, Santa Margarita, Cambria, Cayucos, Los Osos, Avila Beach, Oceano and Nipomo. The incorporated cities within the county did not participate in these sting operations.
The San Luis Obispo County Health Agency’s Tobacco Control Program offers an educational program to those retailers caught selling to minors, which includes how to refuse a sale, identify an underage buyer and properly read an identification card or driver’s license. Members of the public or media with questions regarding the sale of tobacco products to minors are encouraged to call the Tobacco Control Program at 781-5564.