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Chautauqua County reports only one sale of a tobacco product to a minor last year

JAMESTOWN – One business in Chautauqua County was charged with a violation of the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act last year for selling a tobacco product to a minor.

According to a news release last week by the county Department of Health and Human Services, 10 operators were cited during the same time period in 2013.

The department’s Public Health Division conducted 165 inspections of tobacco retailers in 2014. These inspections were unannounced compliance checks where minors tried to purchase tobacco under the supervision of an enforcement official.

There also were 117 visits to businesses to determine compliance with signage and registration requirements.

One business was sanctioned for selling a tobacco product to a minor: A $350 fine was assessed at the Noeplace Store, 708 E. Second St., Jamestown, in November.

“The goal of ATUPA is to decrease tobacco use and dependence by minors. Research has documented that most adult smokers started smoking before the age of 18, and half of them before the age of 15,” said Christine Schuyler, director of health and human services.

“Given the devastating health effects of tobacco use, we must do all we can to keep our youth from ever starting.”

Effective Jan. 1, 2013, the sale of electronic cigarettes is also are prohibited to people younger than 18.

The Public Health Division is responsible for enforcing ATUPA under the New York State Tobacco Control Program. This law requires retailers to obtain proof that the person buying cigarettes is at least 18.

Retailers found in violation of this law are subject to fines, and loss of their tobacco registration and lottery license for repeated violations.