Florida's Broward County Code Enforcement officers begin inspections of businesses selling tobacco products; businesses must be in compliance with county's new ordinance that bans sales of smoking devices to minors

FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida , November 11, 2011 (press release) – Broward County has issued the following news release:

Broward County Code Enforcement officers are conducting informal inspections of businesses that must now be in compliance with the County's new ordinance banning the sales of smoking devices to minors. The ordinance is the first of its kind in Florida.

Businesses selling smoking pipes or items such as cigarette papers must post visible signs explaining the prohibition. The ordinance also forbids selling minors smoking devices that are intentionally disguised as ordinary items such as a pen, lipstick container or highlighter.

"Broward Code Enforcement is working to insure that businesses know about the ordinance and are aware of what they must do in order to come into compliance. There are thousands of businesses that sell these types of items and now they must make sure that customers purchasing them are over the age of eighteen. Proper signs must also be posted so that the public is aware," said Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, who sponsored the ordinance that was approved by the County Commission.

Fines range from $250 for a first time penalty and increase to $500 per repeat violation. "It's very important because these minors are under the age of eighteen and shouldn't be smoking," said Code Enforcement Officer Joy Ganaishlal. "It's a hazard to their health, it's not legal and it comes with a civil penalty."

The ordinance defines smoking devices as metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic smoking pipes with or without screens, water pipes, carburetion tubes, chamber pipes, electric pipes, air-driven pipes, chillums, bongs, ice pipes, chillers or tobacco rolling papers. Those under the age of 18 can purchase these items only if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

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