WA Stores Selling Tobacco to Minors at High Rates - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

WA Stores Selling Tobacco to Minors at High Rates

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A new report finds Washington stores are selling tobacco illegally to minors at a high rate. A new report finds Washington stores are selling tobacco illegally to minors at a high rate.

KENNEWICK, WA - A new report finds Washington stores are selling tobacco illegally to minors at a high rate.

About 15% of tobacco retailers in Washington sold to minors last year, according the Washington State Department of Health.

Health agencies and the Liquor Control Board work with law enforcement to conduct compliance checks.

During these checks, a minor will try to buy tobacco products with their underage ID.

In 2013, in Benton County, there were 28 compliance checks and 5 minors were able to buy tobacco illegally. In Franklin County, out of 26 attempts, 4 were able to buy it. And in Yakima County, after 36 tries, 6 sales were made.

"Our retailers are not helping parents do the job that they want to, which is keeping tobacco out of their kids hands and that's very concerning that retailers are not helping kids safe and healthy," said John Wiesman, Secretary of Health.

The health department released blurred photos of minors that were able to illegally buy tobacco in a compliance check. The photos show each minor holding up their intermediate license and a pack of cigarettes.

State tobacco prevention funding was cut during the recession, but legislators just approved more funding. That funding will be available for prevention programs starting in July.

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