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Niagara County Department of Health Reports Tobacco Sales to Minors Violations

Author: SuperUser Account/Saturday, February 1, 2014/Categories: Health

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The Niagara County Department of Health Environmental Division and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office (under contract with the Department of Health) have been conducting tobacco compliance checks throughout Niagara County since July 1, 1999. Every facility that sells tobacco to the public receives compliance checks to identify illegal sales to minors, including all vending machine operations. Under the supervision of an adult, compliance checks are conducted by 15 and 16 year olds who attempt to purchase tobacco products without identification while being truthful about their ages.

Between April 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, Niagara County conducted a total of 118 compliance checks. The following facilities had enforcement actions finalized for violations in which tobacco products were sold to minors during this time period:

 

       Business                                               Address                                                 Violations to Date


  Gulf Express                           2221 Hyde Park Boulevard, Niagara Falls                     1st violation


 Tops #022 - Gas Kiosk           7200 Niagara Falls Boulevard, Niagara Falls                  1st violation


 “A total of $1,500.00 in penalties has been assessed for the violations, and more importantly, each facility was required to conduct employee training and educational programs which will be monitored by the Health Department. Penalties for each violation can range from $350.00 to $2,500.00, depending on the severity and numbers of violations,” said Mr. James Devald, Director of the Division of Environmental Health.

All compliance checks are conducted in accordance with Niagara County’s Youth Tobacco Enforcement and Prevention Agreement with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) under the authority of the New York State Public Health Law dealing with tobacco enforcement. Similar compliance checks are being conducted throughout New York State. “The goal of the program is to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use among persons less than 18 years of age.  Niagara County’s non-compliance rate is 3.5% compared to the statewide non-compliance rate of 4.99%. Through this program, our goal is to reach 100% compliance with public health laws that ban sales of tobacco products to minors,” Public Health Director, Daniel Stapleton stated. “The earlier our youth has access to tobacco products, the poorer the health outcomes are for the communities we serve.  This program is a key component of our action plan to reduce smoking- related cancers and chronic lung and heart diseases, as well as the burden these preventable diseases place on our healthcare system,” explained Mr. Stapleton.

 “The Department would like to recognize the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in assisting with this program,” added Mr. Devald.
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