§ 11-9-13.6 Duties of the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals. The department of mental health, retardation and hospitals shall:
(1) Coordinate and promote the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and serve as the primary liaison from this department to other state or local agencies, departments, or divisions on issues pertaining to stopping children's access to tobacco.
(2) Provide retail tobacco products dealers signs concerning the prohibition of sales to children under eighteen (18) years of age. The signs, conforming to the requirements of this chapter, shall be sold at cost. This sign, or an exact duplicate of it made privately, shall be displayed in all locations where tobacco products are sold.
(3) Investigate concurrently with other state and local officials violations of this chapter.
(4) Utilize unannounced statewide compliance checks of tobacco product sales including retail tobacco over-the-counter sales, mail order sales initiated via mail, facsimile, telephone or internet ordering or other types of electronic communications, and tobacco vending machine sales as part of investigating compliance with the provisions of this chapter. Underage individuals, acting as agents for the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals and with the written permission of a parent or guardian, may purchase, with impunity from prosecution, tobacco products for the purposes of law enforcement or government research involving monitoring compliance with this chapter, provided that the underage individuals are supervised by an adult law enforcement official. Any individual participating in an unannounced compliance check of over-the-counter or vending machine sales, must state his or her accurate age if asked by the sales representative of the retail establishment being checked.
(ii) In fulfilling the requirement of unannounced statewide compliance checks, the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals shall maintain complete records of the unannounced compliance checks, detailing, at least, the date of the compliance check, the name and address of the retail establishment checked or the mail order company, the results of the compliance check (sale/no sale), whether the sale was made as an over-the-counter sale, a mail order purchase or a tobacco vending machine sale, and if a citation was issued for any violation found. The records shall be subject to public disclosure. Further, the department of mental health, retardation and hospitals shall report to the owner of each retail establishment checked or mail order company, the results of any compliance check (sale/no sale) whether the sale was made as an over-the-counter sale, a mail order purchase or a tobacco vending machine sale, and if a citation was issued for any violation found.
(5) Seek enforcement, concurrently with other state and local officials, of the penalties as detailed in this chapter.
(6) Develop and disseminate community health education
information and materials relating to this chapter.
(P.L. 1996, ch. 321, § 1; P.L. 2000, ch. 210, § 1; P.L. 2001, ch. 391, § 1.)