NORTH BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Long Island police recently went undercover to smoke out illegal e-cigarette sales, and they’re warning the stings aren’t over.
The sign on the door of Vapor Depot claims it doesn’t sell to minors, but Suffolk County police say the business was one of 30 in the county caught breaking the law.
Employee Bobby Kanda said he doesn’t know who made the sale, but even he agrees it was wrong.
“If my kids were going to smoke it I’m going to feel bad, too, so I 100% agree to check the IDs,” Kanda told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Suffolk leaders say the stings are a result of increased underage vaping. Of the 137 businesses selected, about 20 percent allegedly sold e-cigarettes and tobacco products to those under 21 years old.
In all, 30 people were charged.
“I have a message for these vape stores: We will be back and we will not stop our enforcement efforts until we have full compliance,” Suffolk County Police Commissioner Geraldine Hart said.
Besides enforcement, the county also revealed plans at Tuesday’s press conference to improve education.
“There is this myth out there, and you hear it from children, you hear it from their parents, ‘Oh, at least they’re not using cigarettes.’ Well, that is no longer the case,” Suffolk Health Commissioner James L. Tomarken said.
The health department is also expanding its vaping prevention program, allowing students who are caught vaping on campus to attend cessation programs as opposed to being suspended.
“That’s doing something positive with something negative. I’m so glad they are addressing it and maybe we will save a lot of kids,” resident Joan Card said.
Kanda said his store will be more careful in the future. Too many citations will result in the loss of its tobacco license. Some stores are already facing suspension.