State Health Department Releases First Report on Youth Tobacco Enforcement - More than 300 Percent Increase in Compliance Inspections in Program's First Year
Albany, November 9, 1998 – The State Health Department today said that more than 14,600 retailer compliance inspections were conducted during the first nine months of Governor Pataki's youth anti–smoking campaign and announced a new partnership with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out additional federal and state compliance inspections.
As part of the Governor's $13 million campaign to stamp out smoking among New York's youth, $2 million was allocated by the state last year to assist counties and local enforcement officers in their efforts to ensure tobacco retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors. An additional $2 million is being distributed to localities this year.
With the new partnership between the FDA and the State Health Department, New York will receive an additional $745,807, enabling more than 6,000 compliance checks to be performed annually.
Between October 1, 1997 and June 30, 1998, local enforcement officers conducted 14,632 compliance checks on vendors, according to the State Health Department's interim report to the Governor and the Legislature. The number of inspections represents a more than 300 percent increase in the amount of compliance checks conducted by local enforcement officers compared to the amount of checks performed prior to the Governor's initiative.
Among other findings in the Department's interim report:
- During the reporting period, enforcement actions were initiated against approximately 2,900 retailers statewide for sales of tobacco products to underage youth – a 500 percent increase in enforcement actions above those taken during the one–year period prior to Governor Pataki's campaign. Approximately $376,000 in fines were assessed as a result of enforcement actions this period.
- The number of registered tobacco retailers and vendors increased from 21,245 at the beginning of the reporting period, to 27,777.
- More than 9,100 of the compliance checks performed by localities involved using underage youth to attempt over–the–counter purchases of tobacco products.
- More than 1,800 retailers and vending machine owners were reported to the State Tax Department for lack of required registration to sell tobacco products. Failure to obtain a registration may result in a $1,000 fine against the vendor.
- More than 150 local enforcement officers were trained by the Health Department to use new inspection forms and protocols.
In 35 counties and New York City, local government performs compliance checks. In the remaining counties, State Health Department district office field staff performs the inspections.
Tobacco retailers are required to be registered with the State Tax Department. Failure to do so can result in a $1,000 fine. Sales to underage minors can result in a $300 fine for a first violation, up to $1,000 for subsequent violations, and loss of license for three violations in two years, or four violations in a lifetime.