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Tobacco Compliance

We're Hiring!

We are seeking Berks County youth ages 15-20 to help us perform Tobacco Compliance Checks. Scroll down for application and details.

Each year the Council on Chemical Abuse participates in Tobacco Compliance checks.  All Berks County stores selling tobacco products are checked to see if their clerks are selling tobacco to underage youth. It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under age 21.

Jaclyn Steed

Click here to email Jaclyn Steed today. You can also call
(610) 376-8669 - EXT. 107

Tobacco Compliance Check FAQs

What is a tobacco compliance check?

It is similar to undercover detective work.  All Berks County stores selling tobacco products are checked to see if their clerks are selling tobacco to youth under the age of 18, which is illegal.

How does it work?

An adult supervisor from the Council on Chemical Abuse and an underage youth drive together in the adult’s car to a selected location that is not in the student’s home school district. In some municipalities they are followed by a law enforcement officer who can issue a citation if needed.  Once the team reaches the location, the adult enters the store and checks the establishment to ensure it is safe to enter. A minute or so later the youth enters and attempts to purchase cigarettes.  The adult remains in the store and closely monitors the youth.  Once the attempt to purchase is complete, both the adult and the youth exit the store.  If cigarettes are purchased, law enforcement officer is notified. If no police officer has accompanied the team, an officer will be called in to write a citation.

What happens if the store sells cigarettes?

Once notified, the law enforcement officer will enter the store and give a non-traffic citation to both the store and the clerk.  Both will be asked to pay a fine or request a hearing in front of a municipal judge – to have their case heard.  The youth and the adult NEVER reenter the store, and their identity is always kept in the strictest confidence

If I decide to participate will I be safe?

ABSOLUTELY!  Our youth are ALWAYS accompanied by an adult.  COCA is authorized to conduct tobacco compliance checks through the PA Department of Health, and once a sale is completed, it is handed off to the COCA supervisor. In addition, COCA will never arrange for you to participate in checks near your home, only in other parts of the County where people will not recognize you.

What if the defendant chooses to contest the charge with a court hearing?

If the youth is subpoenaed to testify he/she will be paid for his/her time, and will be with the COCA supervisor throughout the process

Do I get paid to participate?

Youth are paid $10 per hour for time spent working on compliance checks.  Youth who turn in all paperwork and participate in checks are also paid for the 1 hour training.

How do I get started?

1 – Complete the application below.

2 – Plan to attend an hour training (You will be paid for your time when you start doing checks)

3 – Participants must be 15-20 years of age and should not turn 20 until September 30, 2021.

4 – Be available and willing to participate in compliance checks Monday through Friday evenings from 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM or Saturday mornings 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM (work will be once or twice per week, not each day), school half days, and days when school is not in session.  Checks will take place in areas across Berks and Schuylkill Counties.  Youth are NOT allowed to participate in checks within their home school district.

5 – Must have transportation to and from checks.  Many times the meeting place is at our office: 50 N. 5th Street, 5th Floor, Reading, PA 19601, or the municipal police department for which you are working.

6 – Working papers/permits required.

APPLY ONLINE: Berks County Tobacco Compliance Checks Training

Participants must be 15-20 years of age and must not turn 20 until September 2021. Thank you for your interest in this training. Select Candidates will be notified upon approval.
  • MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • References

    Please list the name and phone number of two adults (not a parent) who can recommend you for this training, as well as their relationship to you. One must be a teacher.
  • Please include the teacher's full name and phone number.
  • Please list the full name and phone number, as well as his or her relationship to you.
  • Personal Questions

    Please answer the following questions.