SALEM, N.H. — Salem police Detective Hicham Geha and an under 18 buyer visited 14 smoke shops in town Tuesday evening, conducting an undercover youth tobacco sales compliance check.
One shop, Smoker's Lane on Hillcrest Road, sold vaping supplies to the underage buyer, according to Deputy Chief Joel Dolan.
Vaping is a form of tobacco use with an electric cigarette. The electronic cigarette vaporizes the tobacco or flavored “pods,” which people inhale. The risks associated with vaping are currently unknown.
It's illegal to sell tobacco products to children under the age of 18 in New Hampshire.
The store will be fined, and the incident will be reported to the state Liquor Commission, which is in charge of licensing for tobacco retailers, Dolan said.
The department typically does a few of these compliance checks for each year.
This one was spurred by residents who told police that kids had been getting supplies at various shops across town, Dolan said.
Vaping is a relatively new issue to police, so this was one of the first compliance checks the department has conducted for vaping supplies specifically, he said.
“It’s a new industry, so it’s something we are just getting more calls and complaints about,” Dolan said.
Dolan encourages people to report issues, so that they can investigate.
“If anyone knows about kids getting vaping supplies (or other tobacco or alcoholic products) feel free to call the Police Department,” Dolan said. “We will take the complaint and do what we can with it.
“And lots of this starts with education at home, so we ask parents to talk with their kids about it,” Dolan said.
No one from Smoker’s Lane responded to requests for comment.