The state is missing an opportunity to take action against many stores that sell cigarettes to minors, according to a state audit released Tuesday.
Auditor Elaine Howle said a program run by the California Department of Public Health used a third party to do an annual retailer assessment that found 160 clerks sold tobacco to minors during the last three years.
“However, because the purpose of the annual retailer assessment does not include taking enforcement action against the violating retailers, Public Health’s Tobacco Control Branch does not notify these retailers or take action against those who sold tobacco to minors,” Howle wrote in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.
If the Tobacco Control Branch were to share this information with the Food and Drug Branch, the latter could target potential violators when conducting compliance inspections, then impose civil penalties when violations are found, she said.