Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Search SCCGOV Main Portal

County of Santa Clara Raises Tobacco and Electronic Smoking Products Purchase Age to 21 for Unincorporated Areas

First California county to pass ordinance raising tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— Starting Jan. 1, 2016, the age to purchase tobacco and electronic smoking products in unincorporated Santa Clara County increases from 18 to 21. The ordinance will affect 17 retailers located in unincorporated county areas. (See list of locations below.)
 
“Our county continues to be a national leader in protecting the health of our residents, particularly our children and youth, from the harms of tobacco,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, who initiated the County’s smoking, tobacco and e-cigarette product ordinances.  “The new tobacco purchase age of 21 clearly puts the health of our youth before any special interests.” 
 
In June, the County of Santa Clara became the first California county to pass an ordinance raising the purchase age for tobacco and electronic smoking products. In July, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department began notifying tobacco retailers of the new requirements that prohibits the selling and distributing of tobacco and electronic smoking products to anyone under age 21, and more recently through in-store education with store owners and/or employees in partnership with the Department of Environmental Health.

Ordinance requirements beginning Jan. 1:
  • Retailers are required to post a notice of minimum age for purchase of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices at each point of purchase. The notice will state that selling tobacco products and electronic smoking devices to anyone under 21 years of age is illegal and subject to penalties.
  • Positive identification will be required for purchases. No retailer shall sell or transfer a tobacco product or electronic smoking device to another person who appears to be under 30 years of age without first examining the customer's identification to confirm that the customer is at least the minimum age required to purchase and possess the tobacco product.
 
“Tobacco use is still the number one cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 people and costing about $170 billion in health care expenses each year,” said Sara Cody, M.D., County Health Officer and Director of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department. “Tobacco and e-cigarette use among teens and young adults remains a critical public health concern.”
 
It is estimated that 90 percent of tobacco users start before the age of 21; roughly 80 percent first try tobacco before age 18, and 75 percent of teen smokers continue into their adult years. A recent report by the Institute of Medicine predicts that raising the minimum age for the sale of tobacco products to 21 may, over time, reduce the smoking rate by about 12 percent and smoking-related deaths by 10 percent.
 
Enforcement of New Age Restriction
If a store violates the ordinance and sells tobacco or electronic smoking products to anyone under the age of 21, they could be subject to fines and penalties established when the County’s Tobacco Retail Permit ordinance went into effect in 2011.
o    Amount of fine - Each such violation shall be subject to an administrative fine as follows:
§  A fine not to exceed $100.00 for a first violation within one year;
§  A fine not to exceed $200.00 for a second violation within one year; and
§  A fine not to exceed $500.00 for each additional violation within one year.
o    Time period for permit suspension
§  For a first violation within any 24-month period, the retailer permit shall be suspended for up to 30 calendar days.
§  For a second violation within any 24-month period, the retailer permit shall be suspended for up to 90 calendar days.
§  For each additional violation within any 24-month period, the retailer permit shall be suspended for up to one year.
 
For more information, visit: www.sccphd.org/tobacco. The public may call the County Tobacco Violations Reporting Line 408-885-4466 to report non-compliant tobacco retailers in unincorporated Santa Clara County.
 
Tobacco retailers in unincorporated Santa Clara County needing more information about the Tobacco Retailer Ordinance and the new purchase age restrictions, can call the Santa Clara County Public Health Department at 408-793-2745 or email nicole.coxe@phd.sccgov.org.
 
TOBACCO RETAILERS IN UNINCORPORATED SANTA CLARA COUNTY
1.    7-Eleven Food Store #14278f/2234, 14700 Camden Ave., San Jose, Ca 95124
2.    7-Eleven Food Store #2233-14269a, 350 N White Rd.,  San Jose, Ca 95127
3.    7-Star Liquor & Groceries, 2115 Scott St., San Jose, Ca 95128
4.    Bevmo! 14800 Camden Ave., San Jose, Ca 95124
5.    Cask N Flask,14520 Camden Ave., San Jose, Ca 95124
6.    Coyote Discount Bait & Tackle,  8215 Monterey Rd., Coyote, Ca 95037
7.    H And S Tobacco Outlet, 14392a Union Ave., San Jose, Ca 95124
8.    Mama's Market, 13305 Sycamore Ave., San Martin, Ca 95046
9.    Old Gilroy Service, 2035 Pacheco Pass Highway, Gilroy, Ca 95020
10. Redwood Store, 20121 Broadway Dr., Los Gatos, Ca 95030
11. Rocca's Market, 13335 Monterey Rd., San Martin, Ca 95046
12. San Martin Gas & Mart, 13235 Monterey Rd., San Martin, Ca 95046
13. Santa Teresa Golf Club, 260 Bernal Rd., San Jose, Ca 95119
14. Smokers Lounge,  418 S Bascom Ave., San Jose, Ca 95128
15. Stuff N Puff, 1931 W San Carlos St.,  San Jose, Ca 95128
16. Tesoro/Shell #68117, 1370 Camden Ave., Campbell, Ca 95008
17. Tip Top Liquor, 439 S Bascom Ave., San Jose, Ca 95128
 
BACKGROUND

In 2010, the Board adopted three tobacco prevention ordinances to reduce and prevent tobacco use among youth and others, and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. One of the ordinances, the Tobacco Retailer Permit Ordinance, requires all retailers in the unincorporated areas of the County to obtain and maintain an annual permit to sell tobacco products. (Santa Clara County Ordinance Code, Div. A18, Ch. XXIII (§ A18-367 et seq).) The ordinance also, among other things, restricts future retailers from operating within 1,000 feet of a school or 500 feet of an existing retailer. In 2014, the County amended the current tobacco prevention policies to incorporate restrictions related to the use and sale of electronic smoking devices. Most recently in February 2015, the County’s Ordinance Code provision prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products went into effect.

 

Media Contact: Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Christine Stavem, Office of Supervisor Ken Yeager (415) 531-8124.                                         

 

Posted:  Dec. 28, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last updated: 6/22/2017 12:55 PM