The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department worked with law enforcement and youth-serving agencies to conduct its annual assessment of tobacco sales to minors. As in past surveys, a wide variation in sales rates was seen throughout the county. Goleta had an alarmingly high rate of illegal sales with 39% (12/31) selling to the decoy. Over the last five years of data, the cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, and Guadalupe all had their highest rates of illegal sales this year.
Additionally, Solvang and Buellton’s rates rose significantly compared to having no underage sales in 2011. Lompoc showed a significant improvement with only 3% (1/33) of retailers selling this year compared to 31% (9/29) last year. The unincorporated areas showed improvement as well with 13% (8/63) of sales this year compared to 18% (11/62) last year. Santa Maria retailers continued to show strong adherence to the laws with only 3% (2/79) selling this year and 6% (2/31) selling last year.
In 2010, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors strengthened the penalties associated with selling tobacco to minors in the unincorporated areas. Several cities have also expressed interest in passing similar ordinances. Dawn Dunn, Program Administrator of the County’s Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program said, “Although there is clearly room for improvement, we are pleased to see the illegal sales rate decrease in the unincorporated areas which have a strong licensing ordinance. We will continue to educate the retailers about the laws and the importance of checking ID’s and not selling tobacco to minors.”
On September 6, 2012, The Tobacco Prevention Settlement Program is hosting a free Board of
Equalization training for tobacco retailers. The event will be held in Santa Maria with video conferencing available in Santa Barbara. Retailers interested in attending should call (805) 681-5407.