More than three-fourths of Big Bear retail stores that sell tobacco products are doing their jobs when it comes to selling to minors. They aren’t selling.

Big Bear Prevention, in collaboration with the Breakthrough Task Force Coalition and the California Health Collaborative/Tobacco Control Program, recently conduced a series of minor decoy operations throughout Big Bear Valley. Twenty-four percent of the stores that sell tobacco in Big Bear sold to the minor decoy.

“The California Health Collaborative trained us on how to do minor decoys,” said Jesse Rogers of Rim Family Services, which oversees Big Bear Prevention and Breakthrough Task Force Coalition. “One of our employees is under the age of 21, and she went around to every store in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Big Bear.”

The goal, Rogers said, was to collect data and share it with the store owners to help them educate their employees about the law. The mission of the Breakthrough Task Force is to reduce underage access and use of alcohol and other drugs through positive and creative community efforts.

“In an effort to help with the rising epidemic of vaping amongst our youth, we needed to start at one of the sources of access,” Rogers said. “Our goal is to educate on the dangers of selling to anyone under age.”

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