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Burbank keeping the heat on retailers who sell tobacco to minors

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The Burbank City Council this week sent a tough message to local store owners and retailers: selling tobacco to minors will not be tolerated in this town. Two businesses, caught in police youth decoy operations last May, appealed their license suspensions to the city council.

On Tuesday, March 3, the city council held hearings for Sevan Mini Market at 1516 North San Fernando Road and Mega Alliance at 2616 North Glenoaks Boulevard. Representatives from each business pleaded their case before the city council. The owners of Mega Alliance and an employee of the company that owns Sevan Mini Market gave the council a list of reasons or excuses why a young police decoy was sold cigarettes in their businesses.

Dr. David Gordon felt the suspensions came “down way too hard for a first time offense.”  Mayor Dave Golonski on the other hand insisted businesses need to be “proactive” in making sure their employees or whomever is at the cash register does not sell tobacco to anyone under 18.

On a four -to-one vote, the city council decided to uphold Sevan Mini Market’s license suspension for 14 days and reduced the suspension for Mega Alliance from three weeks to 14 days as well. Councilman Gordon was the only “no” vote in both cases.

Burbank’s Tobacco Retailers Licensing Ordinance has been in effect since 2007.  It requires: “… all businesses which sell tobacco products and/or tobacco-related accessories, to acquire a regulatory City of Burbank business license for this purpose.” Details about this ordinance are on the Burbank License and Code Services web page

Burbank’s zero tolerance policy for the sale of tobacco products to minors may seem harsh to some retailers, but as a resident of the city and someone concerned about the health of my community, I think it’s right on time and should be enforced to the letter.

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