The sanctions against Raw Smoke Shop come after the county confirmed during three separate inspections that the business was selling products that violate Palo Alto's rules, according to a copy of the violation notice that the county shared with the Weekly.
The Department of Environmental Health received a complaint last September alleging that Raw Smoke Shop was selling flavored tobacco and electronic cigarettes. County staff conducted an inspection on Sept. 30 and a follow-up visit on Oct. 5. Both times, violations of Palo Alto municipal code were observed, and county staff gave the business a report instructing it to stop illegally selling flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes, according to the violation notice.
The county received another complaint on Nov. 30, and staff from the county public health department conducted a compliance check on Jan. 27. During that check, staff were able to purchase a flavored e-cigarette product, which can't legally be sold in Palo Alto.
Raw Smoke Shop is now required to stop selling all flavored tobacco and vaping products, pay a $1,000 fine and stop selling or displaying any tobacco product (not just flavored ones) for 90 days beginning April 1.
The shop is allowed to continue legal sales after the 90-day suspension but will be subject to increasing penalties for any future violations, Department of Environmental Health spokesperson Larry Little said in an email.
Raw Smoke Shop has scheduled a meeting with the Department of Environmental Health for March 15 to discuss compliance requirements and be given an opportunity to demonstrate that the violations didn't occur, Little said.
Raw Smoke Shop did not respond to a request for comment.
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