The Baker County Protected Communities Coalition is conducting one other Rewards and Reminders outing in Baker County throughout April, a program designed to remind shops that Oregon regulation prohibits them from promoting tobacco and vaping merchandise to folks youthful than 21.
This system additionally ensures that shops place these merchandise behind counters, the place they’re not simply accessible, additionally required by state regulation.
“We’ve been doing the program for about 17 years locally here in Baker,” stated Ray Day, who coordinates the Rewards and Reminders program within the county. “It’s a nationally recognized program for preventing the use and purchase of tobacco products and more recently in the last couple of years, we’ve included vape products.”
Right here’s how this system works:
Two youth volunteers, each between 14 and 17, go to shops individually and search for the place tobacco and vaping merchandise are saved.
“Basically, Oregon law says they should be behind the counter,” Day stated.
The youths, who’re carrying face masks, additionally convey $2 to purchase a soda, sweet bar or different objects.
“So, we’re not actually just disrupting the business, the kids are actually paying customers there,” Day stated.
However along with shopping for the objects, the youth additionally asks the clerk for a tobacco or vaping product. They’re educated to know what to ask for in order that they don’t appear overly nervous.
“Our goal is that the clerk is going to check ID and not sell tobacco products to them,” Day stated.
If the clerk asks for ID, or asks the youth how previous they’re, after which refuses to promote the product as a result of it’s unlawful, the youth will purchase the sweet or different authorized objects, and provides the clerk a $5 greenback reward certificates to a neighborhood enterprise.
Day stated the youth will even give the clerk a observe thanking them for not promoting tobacco to a minor.
If the clerk is prepared to promote the merchandise, Day stated the youth will say they don’t have their pockets and may solely purchase their soda, sweet or different product.
“They do complete the purchase for the soda or candy bar, they don’t touch the tobacco or vape products,” Day stated.
When the youth leaves, they provide the clerk a observe that explains the state regulation about checking ID to substantiate an individual’s age earlier than promoting tobacco merchandise to anybody who seems to be below a sure age.
In keeping with Day, about 95% of the time the clerks is not going to promote the tobacco product to a minor.
He stated he tries to have the youth volunteers go to about six shops within the county in the course of the operation, rotating amongst companies to make sure none is visited extra usually than others.
Day stated he informs regulation enforcement, each metropolis and county, to allow them to know when they’re doing this in case a clerk calls the police.
Day stated he follows up with the shop supervisor or the shop proprietor if the clerk is prepared to promote the tobacco merchandise and offers them details about the state’s refresher coaching for the workers.
“We’re not trying to be punitive by any means, it’s not a punitive program whatsoever,” Day stated. “It’s just a rewards and reminders. We give rewards for being in compliance and then give them reminders if they are potentially out of compliance.”
Day stated in his expertise, most clerks who had been prepared to promote merely made a mistake, maybe as a result of the shop was busy, or as a result of they miscalculated the youth volunteer’s age.
Some shops have machines that permit them to scan an ID to see if the customer is sufficiently old.
“But there have been a couple in the 17 years that, I believe, were deliberate and the clerk just did not care. At least, that was our perception,” Day stated.