Health professionals are reminding retailers to check the IDs of those wanting to purchase tobacco products.
There are new products on the racks with sweet flavors and candy-like packaging, and they say it is more important than ever to prevent tobacco sales to minors.
Called “other tobacco products” or OTPs, they are priced inexpensively and are addictive.
Life-long smokers are their target audience.
Strawberry, grape, apple and chocolate are a few of the flavors used for new products like little cigars and cigarillos.
Some of the products come in packaging which resembles markers and lip gloss.
“Bright packaging, candy flavors and the illusion of a safer product may make these products more appealing to teens,” said Sherry Fisher, Waupaca County representative of Community Action for Healthy Living. “Retailers help their business and their community by checking IDs for all tobacco purchases.”
Selling tobacco products to minors has consequences for retailers.
State statutes prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18 and also require training for staff members who sell tobacco products.
Retailers who sell to minors can receive fines as high as $500 for selling to minors, and licenses can be suspended up to 30 days if the have had a prior violation in the previous year.
Both retailers and any employees who make illegal sales are subject to fines.
Free tobacco sales training and certification are available for retailers at www.smokecheck.org, an online test developed by the Wisconsin Wins program.
Wisconsin Wins is a program of the Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.
It provides training, media and community outreach and also education to help retailers avoid fines.