Raleigh, NC -- Store clerks that sell tobacco products beware, not doing your job could cost you $1,000.
According to the NC Department of Public Safety, 243 clerks were cited for selling tobacco products to underage people in the fiscal year between 2011 and 2012. During that time1,870 unannounced checks were done in 90 counties.
ALE agents make monthly checks and will cite clerks if they don't check the ID of a minor, or if they do check it, but sell the tobacco products to them anyway.
A district court judge can fine a first time offender with no prior convictions up to $1,000 or community service up to 30 days. Jail time may be in the cards for clerks that do have prior convictions.
"We're trying to curb underage tobacco purchases and make sure retail outlets are following the law," ALE Director John Ledford said. "Many of the retail outlets followed the law and did not sell to a minor, and we commend them for their diligence."
Following are totals for this fiscal year from each of ALE's nine district offices:
Establishments checked: 152
Citations issued: 38
Counties: Bertie, Camden, Currituck, Dare, Edgecombe, Gates, Halifax, Martin, Nash, Northampton, Pasquotank, Washington
Establishments checked: 146
Citations issued: 28
Counties: Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Jones, Lenoir, Pamlico, Pitt and Wilson
Establishments checked: 181
Citations issued: 31
Counties: Bladen, Brunswick, Columbus, Duplin, New Hanover, Onslow and Pender
Establishments checked: 299
Citations issued: 30
Counties: Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Orange, Person, Vance, Wake and Warren
Establishments checked: 223
Citations issued: 22
Counties: Cumberland, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Wayne
Establishments checked: 266
Citations issued: 21
Counties: Alamance, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham and Stokes
Establishments checked: 201
Citations issued: 19
Counties: Alexander, Alleghany, Avery, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Iredell, Lincoln, Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin
Establishments checked: 318
Citations issued: 41
Counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly and Union
Establishments checked: 84
Citations issued: 13
Counties: Buncombe, Burke, Cherokee, Clay, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey
Surveys show that 90 percent of adult smokers in North Carolina began using cigarettes before age 18.
ALE, an agency within the N.C. Department of Public Safety, has 112 special agents across North Carolina to enforce alcohol and tobacco laws.
NC Department Of Public Safety