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Tobacco retailers fail

More than 30 percent of Dickinson's businesses inspected for compliance sold tobacco products to teens under the age of 18 last Friday, authorities say.

The six businesses that reportedly sold to minors are Rosie's Food and Gas, Frankie's West Side Conoco, St. Anthony's Club, Simonson's south store, Holiday gas station and Dan's Supermarket's north Store.

"I think part of the problem is they look at the ID and they don't do the math," said Lt. Rod Banyai, Dickinson Police Department.

John McNeilly, Simonson's south store manager, said that is what happened with the employee who sold to a minor at his store.

"She sold to a minor and there's no excuse for that," McNeilly said. "But in her defense, she is new."

He added all of his employees are trained to ask for identification when selling tobacco. McNeilly said the employee got to keep her job.

Holiday was not so forgiving.

"In this particular instance, according to our company policy, the employee was terminated," said Duane Gulbranson, store manager, adding employees are trained for tobacco compliance. "Holiday has some pretty strict guidelines on selling tobacco to minors."

The yearly inspection was conducted through the Southwest District Health Unit's tobacco prevention and control program, coordinator Bobbie Olson said.

She said only two businesses failed the inspection in 2008. One was Kum and Go, the other was an unsupervised vending machine owned by Queen City Candy, she said.

"I was hoping it would be a low number again this year, so I was alarmed when it was six," Olson said.

She added of the six, Frankie's was the only business that did not ask for identification when the minor purchased cigarettes. The other five looked at the minors' IDs and sold to them anyway.

Olson said all 19 businesses which sell tobacco in Dickinson were inspected but bars and liquor stores were not.