Dr. Novello Announces $3 Million in Grants for Local Tobacco Control Programs

DOH Also Releases Second Annual Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Report

Albany, December 8, 2000 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today announced that the State will award $3 million in grants – an increase of more than $1 million – to local governments to fund Governor Pataki's aggressive youth tobacco enforcement program. In addition, the Department of Health today released statistics from its soon–to–be–released second annual Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program Report.

Dr. Novello said, "Over the past few months, Governor Pataki and I have made several announcements surrounding the State's anti–tobacco media campaign with a focus on stopping teen smoking and adult cessation. We've also announced nearly $5 million in funding to our partners at the local level who will work with the DOH in a coordinated manner to help reduce smoking in New York. And today, we are announcing one of the most important youth oriented components of our campaign – $3 million to local governments that will go toward fighting to keep tobacco products away from New York's children."

As part of the Governor's $60 million anti–smoking campaign, $3 million is provided for the Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program to conduct retailer compliance inspections (including thousands with the cooperation of minors attempting to purchase over–the–counter tobacco products) and the training of local enforcement officers in the surveillance of vendors.

In addition to the money announced to prevent youths from having access to tobacco products, the State Health Department released the 1998–99 Youth Tobacco Access Enforcement Report. The report showed that in the second year, about 25,000 compliance checks were conducted, resulting in fines against 3,270 retailers, totaling more than $900,000.

In the two years (1998–1999) since Governor Pataki provided $4.5 million to support the program, more than 52,000 retailer compliance inspections were conducted with more than 40,000 performed with the assistance of minors attempting to purchase over–the–counter tobacco products. These compliance inspections resulted in enforcement actions against 7,316 retailers and more than $1.9 million in fines in the first two years of the State's program to crackdown on cigarette sales to youth.

The vendor compliance rate has increased continually during this time period to 83 percent and preliminary information regarding the third program year which ended September 30, 2000, indicates a continued improvement in the level of compliance.

Dr. Novello said, "Thanks to Governor Pataki's support for the youth enforcement program, we are seeing significant results in the form of compliance checks and fines against retailers that have sold cigarettes to youths. More than 52,000 compliance checks have been conducted over the past two years and I am very pleased with the results of this program. We have also seen that retailers are doing a better job of making sure that teens are not being sold tobacco and preliminary information from the third year shows that trend is continuing."

Dr. Novello said that more than $2 million was allocated annually in the first two years of the Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program as part of the State's youth anti–smoking campaign to assist counties and local enforcement officials in their efforts to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors.

Highlights of the 1998–1999 Youth Enforcement Report follow:

  • More than $1.4 million has been collected from the $1.9 million levied against 7,316 retailers for the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors in the first two years of the program.
  • Over two years, 52,000 compliance checks have been performed with more than 40,000 conducted with the assistance of minors.
  • More than 4,500 retailers and vending machine owners were reported to the State Department of Taxation and Finance for lack of required registration to sell tobacco products in the first two years of the program. Approximately 930 were reported in the 1998–99 program year.
  • The State Health Department awarded a two–year, $500,000 grant award to a merchant association representing tobacco retailers to educate retail vendors about the law.

In the youth enforcement program, local governments perform compliance checks in 35 counties and New York City. In the remaining counties, State Health Department district office staff performs the inspections. Under New York State law, tobacco retailers are required to register with the State Department of Taxation and Finance.

On August 30, 2000, Governor Pataki strengthened the State's youth enforcement program by signing into law a measure that increases the civil penalties for first–time violators who sell tobacco products to minors, establishes new and more stringent penalties for repeat violators and imposes a new fine for retail dealers who sell cigarettes to minors while their registration is suspended or revoked. Specifically, civil fines will be imposed in the following way:

  • Fines for first–time violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 will be increased from a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $300 to a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,000.
  • A new fine for repeat violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 will be set at a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,500.
  • A new fine for retail dealers who sell tobacco products while their registration is suspended or revoked will be set at $2,500.

Along with increasing civil fines, the new law strengthens the suspension and revocation provisions for repeat violations. It mandates the suspension of a retail dealer's registration for six months for two violations and revokes the registration for one year for three or more violations. A violation while a retailer's registration is suspended or revoked will result in permanent revocation.

In addition, this law requires the suspension of a tobacco vendor's lottery license for six months for a second violation and permanent revocation of it for committing a third violation. To enhance public awareness and to further deter businesses from selling tobacco products to minors, the new law mandates the names and addresses of businesses that engage in illegal tobacco sales to be published in local newspapers. The new law took effect September 1.

As stated in his 2000 State of the State address, Governor Pataki's goal is to reduce teenage smoking by 50 percent over the next five years. Under the Governor's leadership, the State has undertaken a comprehensive, $60 million statewide anti–smoking and tobacco control effort, which includes:

  • Support for school–based tobacco prevention programs;
  • Creation of the largest anti–tobacco advertising program in State history;
  • Promotion of smoking cessation services;
  • Support for a statewide tobacco quitline (1–888–609–6292);
  • Advertising aimed at adult smoking cessation;
  • Advertising to highlight the dangers of secondary smoke; and
  • Coverage of prescribed and over–the–counter smoking cessation products.

Governor Pataki also recently signed into law the nation's first Fire–Safe Cigarette Law. The new law requires all cigarettes sold in New York to be designed in a "fire–safe" manner that will prevent continuous burning when they are not smoked for a specified period of time. It also includes tough new enforcement provisions to help combat cigarette bootlegging.

Additionally, effective February 1, 2001, herbal cigarettes can not be sold to persons under 18 years of age. Lastly, effective October 1, 2001, bidis, a tobacco product which is attractive to young people, may only be sold by a tobacco business such as a tobacco speciality shop.

12/8/00–139–OPA

Youth Tobacco Enforcement Funding To Local Governments October 1, 2000 – September 30, 2001

County Funding
Albany $57,694
Allegany 17,460
Broome 33,794
Cattaraugus 20,690
Cayuga 24,196
Chautauqua 33,424
Chemung 22,351
Clinton 26,411
Columbia 20,782
Cortland 16,721
Dutchess 51,881
Erie 130,597
Genesee 20,136
Livingston 20,228
Madison 18,290
Monroe 87,317
Nassau 213,281
NYC 1,301,465
Niagara 34,993
Oneida 40,807
Onondaga 66,553
Orange 60,371
Orleans 16,075
Oswego 26,872
Putnam 24,381
Rensselaer 32,317
Rockland 47,267
Schenectady 31,763
Schoharie 15,153
Seneca 16,721
Suffolk 215,127
Tioga 16,075
Tompkins 25,211
Ulster 39,515
Westchester 157,451
Wyoming 16,629
Total $3,000,000

Tobacco Enforcement Program: Combined Totals – Program Years 1 + 2 10/01/97 – 09/30/99

County Registered Vendors 1999 Complaints Against Registered Compliance Checks Partial Inspections Complaint Investigations Others Visits Fined / Penalized
Statewide Totals 28,871 192 40088 9091 221 2971 7316
Albany 516 3 831 839 3 0 90
Allegany 66 0 140 0 0 0 11
Broome 252 2 431 470 28 315 64
Cattaraugus 103 1 133 109 1 0 7
Cayuga 107 1 175 216 0 0 1
Chautauqua 193 0 364 185 0 2 72
Chemung 111 1 208 63 2 38 12
Chenango 77 0 115 94 0 5 12
Clinton 168 0 301 0 0 0 0
Columbia 104 2 173 50 2 0 16
Cortland 60 0 102 144 0 0 22
Delaware 91 0 239 108 0 0 16
Dutchess 428 19 590 103 8 59 57
Erie 1,164 21 1969 411 22 0 171
Essex 105 2 175 135 8 0 17
Franklin 109 0 208 205 1 0 30
Fulton 76 0 147 80 0 51 12
Genesee 83 0 71 155 0 0 32
Greene 102 0 224 92 0 0 19
Hamilton 27 0 52 24 0 0 4
Herkimer 109 1 118 100 1 37 19
Jefferson 168 0 315 299 0 0 20
Lewis 55 0 88 72 0 0 6
Livingston 82 9 141 0 0 0 18
Madison 81 0 176 184 0 2 16
Monroe 821 2 1106 0 2 0 180
Montgomery 94 0 115 86 0 23 5
Nassau 2,082 20 3781 18 25 269 822
New York 13,073 35 12175 81 46 2078 3170
Niagara 257 4 328 221 0 0 30
Oneida 334 0 459 0 0 0 65
Onondaga 577 0 1079 1345 0 0 133
Ontario 129 0 370 2 0 0 12
Orange 519 2 782 49 3 0 121
Orleans 46 0 26 52 0 0 7
Oswego 173 0 395 361 0 0 29
Otsego 120 0 331 132 1 0 19
Putnam 139 2 172 0 1 0 19
Rensselaer 223 4 217 347 4 0 4
Rockland 352 4 568 0 3 0 132
Saratoga 235 2 286 223 1 16 38
Schenectady 214 7 492 8 4 0 52
Schoharie 44 0 73 0 0 0 0
Schuyler 32 0 71 12 0 0 5
Seneca 45 0 113 54 0 0 6
St. Lawrence 188 1 344 299 0 0 11
Steuben 128 0 279 92 0 0 15
Suffolk 2,091 15 4786 221 15 0 1078
Sullivan 154 0 354 168 1 74 58
Tioga 61 0 147 0 0 0 12
Tompkins 93 5 146 139 0 0 17
Ulster 311 1 245 250 1 2 7
Warren 147 0 180 159 0 0 20
Washington 78 0 110 93 0 0 9
Wayne 119 0 307 5 0 0 9
Westchester 1,457 26 2615 535 38 0 478
Wyoming 59 0 46 0 0 0 5
Yates 39 0 104 1 0 0 4

Tobacco Enforcement Program: Annual Report 10/01/98 – 09/30/99

County Registered Vendors 1999 Complaints Against Registered Compliance Checks Partial Inspections Complaint Investigations Others Visits Fined / Penalized
Statewide Totals 28,871 109 19,146 2,798 102 2,386 3270
Albany 516 0 517 506 0 0 40
Allegany 66 0 75 0 0 0 4
Broome 252 1 269 233 5 210 34
Cattaraugus 103 1 88 109 1 0 4
Cayuga 107 0 96 115 0 0 1
Chautauqua 193 0 178 185 0 2 29
Chemung 111 1 103 40 2 26 6
Chenango 77 0 38 0 0 0 4
Clinton 168 0 169 0 0 0 0
Columbia 104 1 100 6 1 0 6
Cortland 60 0 47 113 0 0 6
Delaware 91 0 96 4 0 0 9
Dutchess 428 16 297 51 5 49 39
Erie 1,164 13 1,042 213 13 0 68
Essex 105 0 86 33 3 0 9
Franklin 109 0 115 76 1 0 20
Fulton 76 0 30 0 0 1 3
Genesee 83 0 71 67 0 0 32
Greene 102 0 91 17 0 0 15
Hamilton 27 0 28 0 0 0 3
Herkimer 109 1 0 9 1 0 1
Jefferson 168 0 150 2 0 0 6
Lewis 55 0 41 3 0 0 3
Livingston 82 5 64 0 0 0 10
Madison 81 0 130 90 0 0 8
Monroe 821 1 732 0 1 0 133
Montgomery 94 0 15 2 0 0 1
Nassau 2,082 9 1,966 18 14 269 426
New York 13,073 24 4,321 0 27 1,778 1346
Niagara 257 0 199 165 0 0 13
Oneida 334 0 224 0 0 0 23
Onondaga 577 0 616 148 0 0 68
Ontario 129 0 232 2 0 0 9
Orange 519 2 486 49 2 0 55
Orleans 46 0 26 0 0 0 7
Oswego 173 0 278 147 0 0 24
Otsego 120 0 139 5 0 0 10
Putnam 139 0 73 0 0 0 11
Rensselaer 223 3 32 147 3 0 0
Rockland 352 1 301 0 0 0 63
Saratoga 235 1 132 11 0 16 12
Schenectady 214 3 225 8 0 0 15
Schoharie 44 0 37 0 0 0 0
Schuyler 32 0 35 6 0 0 4
Seneca 45 0 53 54 0 0 0
St. Lawrence 188 1 165 31 0 0 7
Steuben 128 0 215 14 0 0 11
Suffolk 2,091 11 2,699 0 9 0 518
Sullivan 154 0 187 2 0 35 40
Tioga 61 0 74 0 0 0 0
Tompkins 93 0 83 11 0 0 9
Ulster 311 0 137 12 0 0 7
Warren 147 0 69 11 0 0 4
Washington 78 0 35 4 0 0 6
Wayne 119 0 206 5 0 0 9
Westchester 1,457 14 1,162 73 14 0 77
Wyoming 59 0 0 0 0 0 0
Yates 39 0 71 1 0 0 2