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Vape shops busted around the Valley for selling to teens

Posted at 6:59 PM, Apr 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-20 13:41:18-04

PHOENIX — Selling tobacco to teens has changed; kids are now going after the e-cigarette, and too many businesses are willing to sell to minors. That's where Operation Counter-Strike comes in.

Last year, Attorney General Mark Brnovich's Office in Maricopa County issued 268 citations to specific businesses and clerks for selling tobacco products to minors.

"We have a huge crisis when it comes to teens using e-cigarettes, so General Brnovich is going to continue to try to protect our youth, and we are going to aggressively go after any vape shop or convenience store that sells to minors," said Katie Conner, spokesperson for the Attorney General.

On Friday, a Counter-Strike team from the Attorney Generals Office sent in an underage teen to buy tobacco. Specifically at a store that distributed a flyer advertising a "4/20 sale," on cars near Chaparral High School. Special Agents with the Attorney General's Tobacco Enforcement Unit, discussed the issue with that store owner.

"When it's reported to me that it ended up in the hands of high school students, near their school, at a church, or any facility that deals with youth, that I find alarming."

ABC15 was on hand as the undercover decoy went inside that store. In this case the retailer passed and did not sell tobacco to the minor decoy; however, that's not always the way it goes.

ABC15 reporter Zach Crenshaw was granted access to a ride along with counter-strike agents earlier in the week when agents busted four out of 11 stores for selling to a minor.

To learn more about Operation Counter-Strike, click here.