By Mary O’KEEFE
On Thursday, the Glendale police conducted a Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) operation in an attempt to find local businesses that sell cigarettes to children under 18 years old.
Individuals, or businesses, that knowingly sells or furnishes anyone under the age of 18 with any tobacco, cigarette or cigarette papers is subject to fines up to $1,000 as well as criminal action.
The business owners and employees are expected to treat the purchase of cigarettes similar to that of alcohol.
“If they look under age, they are to ask for [identification],” said Lt. Tim Feeley.
Several volunteers from the Glendale Police Explorer Program and the Vice/Narcotics Unit assisted in the STAKE operation. They visited 39 different businesses and six of them were in violation, including one in the far north area of Glendale.
Although they did not find a lot of violations, it is important for business owners to know GPD is watching and will continue to conduct this type of operation.
“It is sending a message that [GPD] care about our kids,” Feeley said.
A business must get a permit to operate and to sell cigarettes. If a business has a violation of selling cigarettes to minors, that can be taken into consideration and the permit revoked.
But it goes beyond the fines and the permitting to the safety of children.
“Sometimes [business owners] don’t realize they are endangering our kids,” he said.
Some business owners counter that concern with, “If minors don’t buy it here they will buy it somewhere.”
Feeley understands that reasoning, but wants the business owners to know that through these types of operations, “somewhere” will not be in Glendale.