Pleasanton police issued citations to four local businesses for allegedly selling vaping tobacco products to an underage decoy during a special enforcement operation that tested all licensed tobacco retailers in the city.
In addition to checking whether the retailer would sell flavored tobacco or e-cigarettes to someone under 21 years old, officers also inspected each of the 29 businesses to make sure they had required signs posted about not selling to underage people and confirmed that each had a valid tobacco license, according to Lt. Maria Munayer.
The department declined to publicly identify the four businesses cited for violations.
"We are not releasing the names of the businesses at this time," Munayer told the Weekly. "The business owners are being held to account for selling tobacco products to an underage decoy. We acknowledge their need for privacy as they focus their immediate attention on retraining staff to avoid repeat offenses in the future."
The department conducted the sting operation Aug. 12 and 13, motivated by the increasing popularity of vaping among youth in the Tri-Valley and nationwide, according to Munayer.
Plain-clothed police officers from the special enforcement unit accompanied underage decoys for site visits at the 29 tobacco retailers, where the decoy attempted to buy flavored tobacco or e-cigarettes, she said.
While a majority of the Pleasanton retailers followed the law and did not sell to the decoy, four businesses were caught and cited for selling or furnishing tobacco to a person under 21, according to Munayer.
"We will continue to proactively address the illegal sales and purchase of flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes through similar sting operations," the lieutenant said. "In partnership with the Pleasanton Unified School District, we are committed to the health and safety of the youth in our community and will be steadfast in our efforts to increase awareness about the harmfulness of vaping."