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Proposal would require retailers to have tobacco license

A San Diego City Council committee has recommended the full Council consider a proposal that would require retailers to have a license to sell tobacco. Supporters say such a law is needed to cut down on illegal sales to minors. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The proposal would require all tobacco retailers in San Diego to pay $100 a year for a special police permit. Supporters say the money would go for increased enforcement to make sure merchants don't sell cigarettes to minors.

Dr. Cleo Malone directs The Palavra Tree, a social service agency in Southeast San Diego. He says too many retailers are breaking the law.

Malone: In the last week we went to 27 merchants with one of our youth, and 21 of them sold tobacco products to a 16-year-old.

But merchants complain it's not fair to punish all retailers for the mistakes of a few.

A number of California cities require stores to have tobacco licenses, including El Cajon and Vista. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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