That gives Clallam County retailers a success rate of 95 percent during 2010 and 2011 combined, said Jill Dole, prevention specialist with Clallam County Health & Human Services.
“Thanks to Clallam County tobacco retailers for helping to break the chain of tobacco addiction by asking for proper ID and refusing to sell to minors,” Dole said in a statement.
Compliance checks used “youth operatives” of 15 or 16 years old.
She attributed the high success rate partially to the county’s Retailer Education & Awareness Campaign that has been ongoing for 10 years.
Beginning in 2012, tobacco compliance checks will be conducted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Dole said.
Site visits will be made to tobacco retailers who have a history of selling to minors in the past, as well as to new tobacco outlets.
It is a gross misdemeanor for a clerk to sell restricted tobacco products to minors and results in a $50 fine for the first offense and $100 for subsequent offenses.
The owner of the establishment pays a fine ranging from $100 for the first offense up to $1,500, and his or her license is suspended for 12 months for the fourth offense.
“These penalties can be avoided if all clerks are properly trained to read identification and pay careful attention to young customers,” Dole said.
According to the Department of Health, every day in Washington state, 65 young people start smoking, and by 12th grade, 20 percent of high school seniors are regular tobacco users and addicted to nicotine.
One-third of smokers ultimately die from smoking-related causes, the department said.