Before new law raises age, sting focuses on tobacco sales

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A sting operation is focusing on tobacco retailers, making sure they follow the law and do not sell cigarettes to minors. (WLS)

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The city is cracking down on tobacco retailers to make sure they're not sell cigarettes to minors.

On Tuesday afternoon, Revenue Investigator John Gammal issued his fifth ticket to a convenience store, the fifth out of 10 stores visited. This offender is M&M Food, off Western Avenue in Rogers Park.

"The minor goes into the business. I follow three feet behind him or her. They enter the business as do I. They have no ID on them. All they have is the money we give them," Gammal said.

The operation comes as the city is getting ready to raise the legal age to buy tobacco from 18 to 21. The new law goes into effect on July 1.

"We don't want tobacco in the hands of youth, so we've raised the age to 21 to deter underage smoking," said Sherri Ciaciarulo, City of Chicago.

The tickets issued Tuesday were for $1,000. Committing a second offense, as Clark Mini Mart in Rogers Park did, raises the ticket to $2,000. But when asked why they sold tobacco to a minor, the shop keeper had an excuse ready.

"I was a little busy and I didn't have time to ask and she was in a hurry," said Syed Hussein.

Once the new ordinance goes into effect, repeat offenders could face a one-year tobacco sales ban or have their licenses revoked outright.

Related Topics:
cigaretteslawsinvestigationChicago - Rogers Park
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