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    Oregon Self-Serve Sales Restricted

    Beaverton aims to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

    BEAVERTON, Ore. -- In the home of Plaid Pantries Inc., the City Council here passed a law making it harder for people younger than 18 to obtain cigarettes and other tobacco products from local stores.

    The new ordinance, which takes effect in August, bans the sale of cigarettes in packs of fewer than 20 and prohibits self-service displays of the products, vulnerable to shoplifting by minors, according to The Oregonian.

    Retailers will have to dispense cigarettes from behind a counter, reducing the possibility of minors acquiring them by stealth. Ordinance violations could bring a fine of as much as $300.

    Cigarette sales to minors have long been banned statewide, but the city ordinance takes advantage of tobacco's high cost to further discourage youths from smoking. It cuts off sales of "loosies," cigarettes wrapped individually or in packs of three to five and costing less than $1.

    Full packs of 20 cigarettes typically retail for $3.50 to $4, an expensive deterrent to teen-agers' taking up the habit, restrictions' supporters say.

    The county health department's tobacco prevention program last year surveyed retailers in the county, including 51 in Beaverton that sold cigarettes. It found 28 of the 51 allowed self-service access.

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