Bill would ease punishment for illegal tobacco purchases

Posted: Sunday, April 01, 2007

FAIRBANKS - A bill before the Legislature would reduce sanctions on stores caught selling tobacco to minors, but opponents fear it would lead to more teen tobacco use.

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"No one wants to be labeled the person who made it easier to sell tobacco to minors," said Rep. Jay Ramras, R-Fairbanks, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, where the bill stalled this week. "It makes a lot of legislators kind of queasy."

State law says those using tobacco in Alaska must be 19 or older, unless the person is a prisoner in an adult correctional facility.

The law was enacted about five years ago and is credited for dramatically reducing the number of stores caught selling tobacco to minors.

Companies caught selling to minors face an automatic suspension of their tobacco vending license.



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