Arizona Kids Have 15-Percent Success Rate When Buying Cigarettes Without ID. AG Tom Horne Pissed

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Arizona kids have about a 15-percent success rate when trying to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products from retail outlets across the state -- and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is pissed.

"For every 20 minors that walk into a store in Arizona to buy cigarettes, three of them -- without fake ID's or lying or even trying to hide their true age -- will be able to buy cigarettes," Horne says.

The AG's Office released figures yesterday outlining the failure rates of retail outlets when it comes to selling underage kids tobacco products.


According to Horne, tobacco retailers across the state are failing to ID kids trying to buy cigarettes 14.6-percent of the time, according to the results of an investigation that targeted 1,979 tobacco retailers across the state.

In the more rural parts of the state -- Apache, Coconino, Gila, Graham, Greenlee, La Paz, Navajo, and Pinal counties -- the failure rate was 25 percent or higher.

"My office is serious about preventing tobacco sales to minors," Horne continues. "We regularly send out underage volunteers who attempt to make purchases, and if they are offered the opportunity to buy tobacco products by a store clerk, that is a violation of state law. The clerk is held personally liable for paying a fine of up to $300, which should be a powerful disincentive for anyone to sell tobacco to a minor."

Horne's solution: a far-from-clever campaign of public service announcements with the catch phrase "pay the price" (not quite as catchy as "click it or ticket.") to remind retailers who sell tobacco to kids of the $300 fine they face if caught.

Horne says the Attorney General's Office has released a 30-second T.V. PSA -- as well as an accompanying radio spot -- with the aforementioned slogan that will be broadcast statewide.

A spokeswoman for the AG's Office is looking into how much these PSAs cost, and who's paying for them. We'll let you know when she gets back to us.
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24 comments
Dova
Dova

Cigarette purchases are common among thieves who steal credit cards. They pawn the cards off to kids who use fake ID's and someones stolen cards to buy them. The clerks at places like Qwik trip don't even ask for the card to match the license and turn a blind eye. These kids buy a couple of hundred dollars worth of cigarettes until the cards are shut down and re sell them at schools. If it gets traced back to them they are setting themselves up for some serios problems.

Mari Rose
Mari Rose

I'd love to hear what Tom Horne's teabagger supporters have to say about this. After all, they (allegedly) want government out of their lives and to allow the omnipotent invisible hand of the market to govern instead. In this case, the market wants to sell the cancer sticks to whoever has the cash to buy them. 

Foghorn
Foghorn

More fire and brimstone from a blowhard politician. Go catch a real crook, smoking prevention is a parents job.

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

By they I'm referring to The Arizona Republic.  If they don't endorse you and you're GOP then it's because they actually looked at your dismal public service record.  And the only reason you didn't lose?  Because your competition, Andrew "X-barrister" Thomas is a bigger piece of political refuge than you are...

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

yep it's a bullshit statistic Tom, nice try though, trying to scrape some money together hustling store clerks and bar owners... you are truly a loser.  If I were you Tommy-boy I'd watch real close ... cause when we're done with Pearce's sorry ass, yours is high on the list.  Your the only the only GOP scum they didn't endorse.

Guest23
Guest23

If they havent listened thus far, this most likely will amount to flushing money down the drain. Print up some posters and have them placed on the wall where the workers comp and other items that are and legally require them to be posted. This would be a long term solution and be more effective than psas run at some ungodly hour on a nothing tv station.

CJAZ
CJAZ

Only an agenda-driven politician would bemoan an 85+% success rate in preventing kids from buying tobacco.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Too bad Horne isn't pissed about the 100% chance that Az. teenagers will receive a substandard education.

Rob
Rob

Remember when the Sheriffs office used to do "stings" trying to catch retailers selling tobacco products to minors?

I do.

Wonder why they don't do that anymore?

Oh yeah....when you need 60 deputies to catch one hotel maid or 3 dry cleaners or over a 100 deputies, a washed up actor and an armored vehicle to pop one cockfighter, your resources are stretched a little thin.

James King
James King

That's not his concern...anymore.

teknik1200
teknik1200

he's proud of that fact, otherwise they will grow up to become a member of the "liberal elite".  We all know education is a sham anyways.

Guest23
Guest23

The sting system using minors to catch businesses is corrupted and the need to make busts encourages law enforcement to lie and set people up. I know this full well because the atf tried this crap on me. At an event that in the area I was with almost no unaccompanied children are present, a underage teen attempted to get a glass of complementary wine, in a packed room, I turned away a teen 3 times after he asked for a glass even after he offered to pay for it by putting money in the jar that had a sign that stated "tips appreciated" and in the one to two seconds when my back was turned as well as a partner who just stepped stepped behind the counter where the wine was, the kid snuck a glass out the door. The counter is right at the entrance of the store so it was easy for him to grab it and step outside and that's when three atf officers walked in and arrested my partner. They would accept no explanations so we went to court and the prosecuter even thought the charges were ridiculous, but the minor an honorary wannabe police trainee or something and one of the officers were very gunho about it so the hearing was postponed so witnesses could be brought in. At the next hearing date the minor and the officer lied through their teeth, stating they were receiving complaints of alcohol being served to minors, which is ridiculous because there were so few minors in the area and no one ever said anything though there were problems in other areas miles away and its not a great part of town and a bar is next door. They stated we sold the wine to the kid for a dollar and said there was a sign on a jar that read "wine $1". We brought in witnesses that attested to us refusing the kid service and that they had never observed alcohol being consumed by minors there. The prosecuter dropped the case "in the interest of justice" which ticked off the wannabe cop minor who was the only one who showed up for that hearing. Three months later the same three atf officers came and busted me for drinking a forty of beer when I was standing four feet from the entrance of the door to watch a marching band coming down the street. They seemed to think I was my partner they arrested previously and told me I was illegally consuming alcohol in public. I told them I found this surprising since indians drank in the shade of my building everyday of the week, getting drunk, pissing and shitting on themselves, passing out and fighting and no law enforcement would do anything about it but send a van to pick up those that passed out.when I pointed to two guys across the street drinking forties and smoking crack in the shadows of an abandoned motel and the officers said they didn't care about them. They obviously were gloating about catching the guy that got away before and just wouldn't listen that I was not the same guy. Ended up in court again but after some research found a statute that permitted me to drink alcohol outside my establishment on the side walk directly in front of the entrance as long as there was not live entertainment inside. We arrived in court and went over the officers written statements and they outright lied and said the owner of the business, my partner, said I didn't have permission to drink outside, when she said no such thing and said she told the officers that I was 40 some odd years old and I could do whatever I wanted as I was an owner as well. Before we addressed this we pointed out the statute that allowed my actions and the case was dismissed again in the interest of justice. Two major hassles that required me to shut down business for two half days. I will never trust law enforcement again even though I do know honest cops but in this day and age no one can afford to trust them. My partner even had a connection with the officer below the chief and he said there was nothing he could do because it was the atf. In the end this was my impetus to go back to school and study law which I have done for the last two years and just about have my AA.

Bnbk
Bnbk

I don't think it ever was his concern,his only concern has been advancing his political career.

Yourproductsucks
Yourproductsucks

Whine much? You are one nasty lil bitch aren't you? Here's a thought- take responsibility for your own actions and stop justifying yourself by pointing out others faults. Spineless wells like you that whine about being stopped because"Everyone else is doing it" is as juvenile as it gets.

Follower_of_The_One
Follower_of_The_One

I took the time to read your post and gotta say it happens everyday.  There was a brief stretch of time citizens could video, it's against the law now.  We wouldn't want to violate the rites of some f'ing cop violating the rites of a citizen would we.  What comes around goes around for these assholes.

Guest23
Guest23

The really scary and sad thing about the situation was that these three officers were teaching a young trainee that this was kosher behavior for a law enforcment officer. Recently I wasn't suprised to learn from a friend that works with leos in phoenix and how much bigoted, racist and sexist material is floating through their inboxes. After watching the last season of the cable tv show Rescue Me, I imagine cops think that this sort of behavior shouldn't be an issue for those that are risking their lives or don't understand the dynamics of good ol' boys working together and I suppose I wouldn't have that big of a problem with it if it didn't spill over into how they behave with the public. It really is surprising that even when you treat some officers with the utmost respect they have nothing b ut disrespect, powertrips and attitude to give back. Do they laugh their asses off around the water cooler over the dictum "to protect and serve"?

Guest23
Guest23

Is there a staute against video taping the police? I know there is a youtube video of a local lawyer adressing this type of situation when it happened in another state and how it was legal. I am surprised it isn't technically legal here but wouldn't be surprised if the mcso and other police would ignore it.

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