During the past two weeks, the Chico Police Department’s School Resource Unit conducted decoy operations in which a subject under the age of 21, under the direct supervision of officers, attempted to purchase tobacco or vape products from 22 tobacco retail licensees in the City of Chico. In California, it is unlawful to sell or furnish tobacco related products to anyone under the age of 21. The goal of this operation was to reduce the sale of tobacco and vape products, to anyone who is not of the legal age to purchase tobacco and to confirm that local businesses are operating within compliance of the law.
During the months leading up to the decoy operation, the School Resource Unit visited tobacco retailers to ensure owners and/or management had a retail license to sell tobacco products.
Retailers were also notified that a potential decoy operation would be used to verify that retailers were abiding by these regulations.
During the operation, two businesses sold tobacco related products to the decoy. Both clerks were cited. The twenty other businesses refused to sell any tobacco products to the decoy because the clerk verified the age of the decoy.
This operation was in conjunction with a State of California Department of Justice Tobacco grant the City of Chico was awarded in 2021. The Chico Police Department will continue to conduct periodic compliance checks to reduce the availability of tobacco and vape products to individuals under the age of 21.
If anyone has information that local tobacco retailers are selling tobacco products to individuals who are under the age of 21, you are encouraged to contact the Chico PD School Resource Unit at (530)897-4911.
Location: Multiple businesses within the City of Chico
Supervisor: Sgt. S. Harris
Lieutenant: Lt. B. Miller