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The Grey Bruce Health Unit is looking to hire a few good teen shoppers.

Specifically, the Health Unit is looking for teens between the ages of 15 and 18 to visit stores to see if they can buy tobacco and electronic cigarette products. Working with Tobacco Education and Enforcement Officers, the youth will visit retailers across Grey Bruce. Tobacco and electronic cigarettes in Ontario cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 19.

It’s a good experience for young people, especially anyone considering a future in law enforcement,” says Tobacco Program manager Angela Newman. “It is a great opportunity to learn about note taking, about being observant and documenting observations.”

Training is provided, and teens must have parents' permission.

Once trained, the teens go into the store on their own while a tobacco enforcement officer remains outside. The test shopper asks to buy a product. If it’s not sold, they go back to the vehicle and fill out a report confirming they could not make a purchase. If they are able to buy the product, the enforcement officer takes over. But even in those cases, the teen may become involved in the court process.

The days and times of the visits vary and the teens do not make store visits in their home area. Transportation is provided.

Dates and locations of test shopping vary. Some vendors might be visited more than once, especially if they’re considered at high risk for selling to youth.

We keep it a very normal situation so that it stays in the legal realm, it’s safe for the student and it’s a realistic approach for a vendor,” says Newman. “Tobacco retailers need to understand that test shopping will occur. It’s as simple as asking for I.D.”

For more information or to send a resume and cover letter, e-mail: m.clancy@publichealthgreybruce.on.ca