Oregon Live reports on Sep. 1 that Oregon is rated the number one state in underage cigarette sales. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time it's happen, or the second. This is the third time in a row that Oregon has ranked this high and the fifth time in a row that it has placed in the top five states in underage tobacco sales.
While policy makers claim that they hope to improve the problem, it's unlikely to happen as there are not very strict policies in place that would make establishments check identification more stringently. As it stands, while many state's teens have to try 20-25 shops before they would be able to find someone lax enough to purchase cigarettes from, in Oregon they only have to try an average of five times before they can buy a pack of smokes.
Unlike several other states, Oregon is one of 13 that doesn't require establishments to have a special license to sell tobacco products. Therefore, if they sell to underage teens they really have nothing to lose. There is no policy or funding that allows for sting operations that would set stores up to see if they are properly checking identification or not. If they are caught, the employee caught selling to minors receives a $100 fine, far less than the average $450 fine, and the establishment receives no fine of any kind. Unlike other states, repeat offenders do not receive higher fines for multiple offenses.
Many other states have mandated that every establishment that sells tobacco products in their state will have a mystery underage shopper attempt to buy cigarettes at least once a year. In Oregon, there are only a few establishments in every city that will have a sting operation done to them, not even necessarily every year.