Undercover operation conducted on Oct. 14
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office cited eight local store clerks this week for selling vaping products to minors, as it conducted an undercover operation in partnership with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco’s Bureau of Law Enforcement, the Sheriff’s Office has announced.
“Undercover personnel were sent into 29 stores throughout Sarasota County on Monday,” a news release says. The businesses below were found to be in violation of selling a nicotine product or nicotine dispensing devices to a minor, the release adds. Clerks at all eight locations were given a misdemeanor Notice to Appearcitation, the release points out.
The stores where clerks were cited follow:
- DNA Vaping Lounge Sarasota, located at 5045 Fruitville Road, Unit 165, in Sarasota.
- Smoker Friendly/Tobacco Depot No. 723, located at 4461 Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota.
- Fantacy Vape and Smoke Shop, located at 2868 Ringling Blvd. in Sarasota.
- Ignite Vapors, located at 3251 17thSt., Unit 170, in Sarasota.
- Cheap Smokes, located at 1839 S. Tamiami Trail in Venice.
- Skybudz Smoke Shop Inc., located at 3135 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.
- Gateway Vape, located at 6534 Gateway Ave. in Sarasota.
- Ryo Tasteful Tobacco, located at 5761 Beneva Road in Sarasota
The remaining 21 stores in Sarasota, Venice, Englewood and North Port were found in compliance, the release pointed out.
“Vape pens and e-cigarettes are becoming more popular these days than traditional cigarettes,” said Sheriff Tom Knight in the release. “That is why we are being proactive by trying to make sure instruments that support the use of addictive tobacco, THC and other products isn’t getting into the wrong hands. We will continue our education and enforcement efforts so long as there are children to protect and businesses to hold accountable,” he added in the release.