Bakersfield Tobacco Retailers to Be Held Accountable
The new tobacco retail licensing program that aims to protect youth from illegal tobacco sales, curb tobacco use takes effect tomorrow
Bakersfield, Calif. – Beginning August 11, tobacco retailers in Bakersfield will be required to apply for a license and pay licensing fees as part of a comprehensive tobacco retail licensing program that the City Council approved last month.
The program will help hold Bakersfield retailers accountable for following state and local tobacco laws, including the statewide law that ended the sale of flavored tobacco products, with solid enforcement that includes annual monitoring, fines, license suspension and revocation for non-compliant retailers.
The following is a statement from Lynda Barbour, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Southern California government relations director:
“For too long, greedy tobacco retailers sold highly addictive and deadly products to Bakersfield children with virtual impunity, often near areas -- such as schools -- where kids learn and play. The new tobacco retail and licensing program protects our kids and communities by ensuring that local and state tobacco control laws can be sustainably and equitably enforced.
“Tobacco retailers are more common in limited-income communities and communities of color, who, as a result, experience disproportionate tobacco-related diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and cancer. Proximity to tobacco retailers is associated with higher smoking rates and can reduce the success of those trying to quit.
“The tobacco retail licensing program will help reduce tobacco use as well as the death, disease, disability and financial burden associated with it, and it’s a critical step toward making Bakersfield a healthier home for everyone.
“We commend ACS CAN volunteer and Bakersfield resident Patsy Romero for her tenacity, commitment and leadership. She has worked tirelessly with the Kern Tobacco Free Coalition for many years to protect Bakersfield youth.”