“Every day I see kids smoking before school and in front of the school. I find it heartbreaking to see the middle school students. It’s like they depend on it,” said Classical High School student Fabiola Noel during a signing ceremony at the John Brown Settlement House.
Despite state laws, city leaders say children are still getting their hands on cigarettes in Providence.
The ordinance requires all tobacco vendors in Providence to get a city license. It also reiterates a ban on selling single cigarettes, called “loosies.”
Yurdin, who pushed the plan, says loosies are a cheap way for kids to buy smokes and that a lot of stores are all too willing to supply them.
The problem was featured in an NBC 10 hidden camera story. A city store was selling loosies, and a uniformed police officer hanging out in the store was sometimes behind the counter while it was going on.
The new measure requires police to check out all 300 tobacco vendors in the city twice a year at a time when the mayor says dozens of cops will be cut from the force.
“We will focus on making sure that this is enforced, and we’ll do whatever we need to do to make sure that we can stop children from smoking,” Taveras said.
The ordinance calls for fines and loss of license as punishment for breaking the rules. Those who created the plan say the fines are meant to pay for police enforcement.