The City Council Tuesday decided not to move toward regulating the display of cigarettes in stores, but rather to encourage store managers to voluntarily keep tobacco out of the reach of minors.
Some citizens said they are concerned that juveniles were stealing cigarettes and becoming addicted because of tobacco's easy accessibility in many stores. Cigarettes are often displayed on store counters or on racks near the exit.Orem retailers do not consider cigarette theft a big problem, and many said changing their displays would be too costly or inconvenient, said City Attorney Paul Johnson.
Many stores would need more people to handle cigarette sales and others would lose the revenue tobacco companies pay to have their displays in stores, Johnson said.
Pat Turner, who teaches tobacco prevention in Orem, said students tell her cigarettes near the exit are easy to steal.
"Theft is one source of tobacco for juveniles," said Orem police officer Ralph Crab. Other sources are parents, 19-year-old friends and clerks who do not ask for identification, Johnsons said.
Mayor Stella Welsh said she was reluctant to mandate to retailers, but she and the council are concerned about displays near the exit.
Kris Madsen, 1768 Moor Lane, said, "Some kids would not (steal cigarettes) if it is not easy. If you make it accessible, they will take it."
The council decided to handle the problem by asking stores to voluntarily alter their displays.