A recent inspection from the Indiana Excise Police Found more Hoosier businesses are turning away minors trying to by tobacco products. The inspection found that just over four percent of businesses checked in Vanderburgh County failed to turn minors away and were fined as consequence. Excise Police say it’s a good step in getting tobacco away from minors before they get addicted. Marina Pointe employee Shelby Bartholome says it might be illegal, but she sees plenty of minors trying to buy tobacco products, but she says the store has a strict policy.
“We ask them to leave, we tell them to get out of the building and come back when you’re 18 and you can happily by cheapest Glamour cigarettes,” said Bartholome.
Corporal Travis Thickstun with the Indiana Excise Police says Marina Pointe is doing the right thing.
The force just completed an inspection of Indiana businesses to see how many would sell tobacco to underage people. The offenders were fined.
Thickstun says they were pleased that this year’s results were low.
“As a result of the inspections over the last several years, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in businesses willing to sell tobacco to juveniles, and obviously that’s keeping tobacco away from young kids. That prevents people from smoking tobacco for years.”
Pediatrician Doctor Michael Verive at St. Mary’s Medical Center says businesses need to crack down against underage sales because some kids are picking up tobacco products before they hit puberty.
“Children start smoking at a very early age, and we say children because we’re talking about 10, 11, 12 year olds who aren’t even considered adolescents yet,” said Verive.
Verive says once minors get start smoking, it’s much harder for them to stop,even moreso than adults.
“Their brains are still developing, so they get hooked on it and the addiction is usually a lifelong addiction.”
Thickstun says that’s exactly what they’re trying to prevent.
He says the number of businesses statewide that allow minors to purchase tobacco products has dramatically decreased.
He says when inspections began in 2000, over 40% of stores would go ahead and make the sale.