Saturday, March 25, 2006
Kids and cigarettes
Is there any regulation here against selling tobacco to people under the age of 18? And if there is one, is it actually implemented?
The reason I ask is because I was grocery shopping at Choitram's one day, and two teenage boys (probably around 14 years old) were buying cigarettes. The man standing behind these 2 boys actually asked the oblivious cashier "are you allowed to sell cigarettes to underage kids?", at which point the cashier asked the 2 boys "who are these for?", to which one of the boys replied "it's for my father".
Now, maybe, just maybe, the boy was actually telling the truth, but we'll never know. He could have been buying the cigarettes so he and his friend can go hide behind a building to smoke...
In the US and in Canada, if the cashier has some doubts about your age, then he/she has the right (or actually, is obligated) to ask for your ID. If he/she is caught selling cigarettes to an underage person, then he/she is awarded a hefty fine.
All this to say, a very serious awareness campaign needs to take place to educate all shopkeepers (everyone, from hypermarkets, to the smallest of bakalas) about not selling tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. Not an easy task, to say the least.