Tobacco Sales To Young Adults (Greenville Sting Operation)

GREENVILLE: On March 14, 2023, Greenville Police Officers with the help of several young adults, conducted a Sting Operation on local businesses that sell tobacco and vape products. Tobacco and vape products can only be sold to persons aged twenty-one or older. Twenty-three stores were randomly selected inside the city limits of Greenville. The young adults entered the stores under the direction and direct supervision of plain-clothed Greenville Police Officers to buy either tobacco or vape products. Of the twenty-three locations visited, seven locations (30%) sold either tobacco or vape products to the underage adults. Many of the stores that did not sell to the minors use the scan system for their driver’s license that automatically tells the clerk that the sale is prohibited. We encourage more stores to employ this system and use it so that underaged individuals do not have access to these products. Selling tobacco products to a minor is a Class C Misdemeanor and violators can face fines. Retailers can also have their license from the state to sell tobacco products revoked or must pay additional fines as well.

The Greenville Police Department is committed to the safety and health of our local youth. By conducting these types of operations, we hope to discourage businesses from violating the law and selling products to underaged individuals. The Greenville Police Department will continue to conduct similar operations to ensure compliance with state laws. Parents and guardians are also urged to talk to their children about the dangers of tobacco and vape use. We all have a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of our community’s youth.