Tobacco checks near perfect

One business fails to ID buyer during compliance test

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— Routt County businesses appear to be doing their part to snuff out underage tobacco use.

In a tobacco compliance check conducted by state officials during the weekend, one Routt County business failed to ask a minor attempting to buy a tobacco product for identification.

Clyde Anderson, a Colorado Department of Revenue criminal investigator, said the tobacco compliance rates in Routt County and Steamboat Springs were impressive.

"Taking into consideration that we checked nearly 50 stores and only one failed, that's very good. It's way above average," he said.

Steamboat Lake Outfitters in North Routt County was the only business to fail the compliance check, Anderson said. The clerk who failed to ask the undercover minor for ID before selling her a tobacco product was given a summons to appear in Routt County Court, he said, adding that the owners of Steamboat Lake Outfitters will receive a written warning letter from the state because the store's failure was its first. The owners won't face criminal charges.

Anderson said the state is required by federal law to enforce laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to youths 18 and younger. The state also is required to conduct annual and random tobacco compliance checks to ensure that state establishments are in compliance with state laws. Routt County was randomly selected this year, Anderson said.

Steamboat Springs police Capt. Joel Rae said he was pleased that every tobacco-selling business in the city passed the check. "They checked every single establishment in this city that sells tobacco, and every single one passed. It was good news for us," Rae said.

Businesses that were part of the check included gas stations, grocery stores, liquor stores and retail stores.

The city has conducted its own tobacco compliance checks in past years in partnership with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Rae said.

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