Reports find that about one in every eight stores in Virginia sells tobacco or alcohol to underage buyers.
The Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) now has a program to see if alcohol and tobacco retailers follow the law when it comes to selling to underage buyers.
The state conducted more than 9,700 underage buyer inspections, and 13% of the time, retailers failed the inspection by selling to the underage buyers or by committing another infraction, according to Capital News Service.
In the Alexandria area of Northern Virginia, 17% of businesses failed the inspection. In the Richmond-Fredericksburg area, 16% failed to comply with standards. The Roanoke and Southwest Virginia areas performed best, failing only 9% of the inspections.
Currently, it’s illegal to sell tobacco products to people under 18 and alcohol to people under 21 in Virginia. Selling alcohol to minors is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Stores that violate this law face civil penalties and can have their ABC licenses suspended.
One Henrico County convenience store that sold to an underage buyer was ined $10,000, and a cafe in Centreville, Va. was fined $8,000 for the same crime, according to ABC’s data.
ABC plans to continue using teenage operatives for the alcohol and tobacco underage buyer inspection program.