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Selling Tobacco To Teens Gets Tougher In San Jose

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Packs of R.J. Reynolds Company brand cigarettes (AP)

Packs of R.J. Reynolds Company brand cigarettes (AP)

MattBigler20100909_KCBS_0384r Matt Bigler
KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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SAN JOSE (KCBS) — A new tobacco ordinance passed in San Jose is aimed at preventing teens from lighting up. Retailers will now be charged an annual permit fee to pay for better regulation.

As we all know, selling cigarettes to minors is illegal in the state of California, but San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed said the state doesn’t do enough to prevent it.

“The state doesn’t have much of an enforcement mechanism, practically zero,” said Reed.

The city council’s ordinance would require stores in San Jose to pay $450 for an annual license to sell tobacco products.

The move is being plotted by Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib who said retailers could lose their license if they’re caught selling cigarettes to teens.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

“It puts a little bit of teeth into a law for the first time,” said Fenstersheib.

Charles, a member of the local merchants group, said penalty for a first strike is way too high.

“Many retailers are not going to be able to afford a $2,500 fine for the first violation,” said the frustrated merchant.

Some 50 California cities have already passed similar ordinances.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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