Smoke Shops Keep Close Eye Out for Minors Purchasing Tobacco

By  | 

At Cliff's Smoke Shop in Lincoln, anyone looking even close to 18 years old needs an ID.

"The standard in the industry is 27 years old," said Miles Johnston Co-Owner of Cliff's Smoke Shop.

Having co-owned and operated this cigar, pipe tobacco and cigarette shop for years, Miles knows how to spot a minor in his store.

"When they do come in you just ask for the ID and if they don't have it you just know something is up and they're gone," said Johnston.

According to the Lancaster County Health Department the percentage of businesses that sold tobacco to minors during compliance checks increased from 7.6% in 2012 to 12.6% in 2013.

Lincoln Police found that of the 333 attempts by minors to purchase tobacco products, 42 resulted in a sale.

Knowing that illegal tobacco sales are on the rise has people like Johnston keeping a close eye out for underage customers.

"Most of our customers, 90% of the people who walk in this door are regulars. We're immediately put on notice if a stranger comes in, especially one asking for cigarettes," said Johnston.

Having had no incidents during 2013, Johnston has a simple message for those trying to keep their products out of the hands of a minor.

"Just be reasonable, be smart," said Johnston.