State Health Department Issues Enforcement Actions Against Tobacco Vendors Selling to Minors

Aggressive Enforcement Activities Build on Governor Pataki's Efforts to Significantly Reduce Smoking in New York State

Albany, March 2, 2001 – The New York State Department of Health recently fined 44 tobacco vendors, a total of $14,200, that were found in violation of the State's Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) by selling tobacco products to minors or for selling tobacco while their registration to sell tobacco was suspended or revoked. These youth enforcement activities continue to build on New York's $60 million comprehensive anti–smoking program.

Last year, Governor Pataki signed legislation to strengthen the State's youth enforcement program. The new law 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.

New York City and county health departments have the primary responsibility to enforce the ATUPA law, which prohibits the sale of all tobacco products to persons under eighteen years of age. In the 22 counties without full service local health departments, the State Health Department performs the ATUPA duties.

The information provided in this release is required to be made public under New York State Public Health Law. Additionally, Public Health law states that "vendors shall post in a conspicuous place a sign upon which there shall be imprinted the following statement: sale of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, powdered tobacco, or other tobacco products, herbal cigarettes, rolling papers or pipes, to persons under eighteen years of age is prohibited by law."

The New York State Public Health law provides all violators the opportunity for an appeal and hearing before an administrative tribunal representative. Enforcement actions under ATUPA include the following:

  • The first sale of tobacco to a minor carries fines ranging from $300 to $1,000.
  • A second sale to a minor will result in a six month suspension of the vendor's registration to sell tobacco and violators will be fined $500 to $1,500.
  • A third sale to a minor will result in a one year suspension of the vendor's registration to sell tobacco and a fine from $500 to $1500.
  • Sale of tobacco by a vendor with a suspended registration could result in a permanent revocation and a $2,500 fine.
  • As of September 1, 2000, vendors who also are lottery agents and are found to have sold tobacco illegally for the second time will see their lottery license suspended for six months. A third violation will result in permanent revocation of that vendor's lottery license.

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 for one year for three or more violations. Retailers who violate the law while their registration is suspended or revoked will face permanent license 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 for 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, 2000.

In the two years (1998–1999) since Governor Pataki signed legislation providing $4.5 million to support the tobacco youth enforcement 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.

The aggressive tobacco youth enforcement activities outlined today will build on the Governor's efforts to significantly reduce tobacco use in New York State. Other initiatives the Governor has implemented to reduce smoking among New Yorkers include:

State's $60 Million Anti–Smoking Campaign (the largest campaign in state history):

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, $60.5 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;
  • 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.

Fire Safe Cigarettes:

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. The law also includes tough new enforcement provisions to help combat cigarette bootlegging.

Prohibit Sale of Look–A–Like Cigarettes:

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

Legacy Foundation Grants:

Over a three year period, New York State will receive more than $3 million from the American Legacy Foundation (Legacy) to support statewide youth coalitions against teen smoking. The funding, which began in 2000, will go to the New York State Department of Health and be used to enhance a youth empowerment program by supporting a youth summit and by training youth to promote tobacco control policies.

The State Health Department also has issued the following Request for Applications to help fight smoking in New York State:

  • $20 million will be awarded as part of a statewide advertising/marketing outreach campaign. A public relations/marketing firm will work with the State and youth empowerment programs in the development and implementation of the advertising campaign, the largest and most well–funded anti–smoking outreach initiative of its kind in State history. The campaign includes the development of broadcast, print and web–based promotional materials. A media and public relations workgroup will be formed by members from the youth programs and represent the diversity of New York State in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, age and socioeconomic status. The initiative will utilize some of the creative ideas generated by more than 160 teenagers who attended the State's Youth Tobacco Summit in June 2000.
  • $6 million is currently available through a RFA process to establish a statewide anti–tobacco Youth Empowerment Program aimed at encouraging children and adolescents to avoid using tobacco products. County level youth empowerment projects will be established to promote New York's statewide anti–smoking campaign targeted to youth between 13 and 18 years of age. These projects will consist of teenagers committed to working to discourage tobacco use among their peers in the State and nation.
  • $2.3 million is available through the RFA process to establish community–based smoking cessation programs that encourage New Yorkers who are now smoking to quit. Community–based organizations funded through the State's Tobacco Use Cessation Initiative will be responsible for innovative projects to recruit current smokers, helping them end their habit.

3/2/01–20 OPA

Vendors found in violation of the State Public Health Law (Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act) follow:
Vendor Violation Fine
Essex County    
AuSable Club First $300
AuSable Mtn. Club Rd.    
St. Huberts, NY    
The Bloomin' Market First $300
Rt. 3    
Bloomingdale, NY    
Byrd's Country Store First $300
Rt. 22    
Willsboro, NY    
The Cottage First $300
5 Mirror Lake Drive    
Lake Placid, NY    
Everybody's Market First $300
Pleasant St.    
Westport, NY    
Grand Union #1805 First $300
211 Lake Flower Ave.    
Saranac Lake, NY    
Grand Union #1370 First $300
Ames Plaza    
Tupper Lake, NY    
Grand Union #1825 First $300
Rt. 9 & Court St.    
Elizabethtown, NY    
Grand Union #1135 First $300
1716 Front street    
Keeseville, NY    
Hill Top Stop First $300
Rt. 458    
St. Regis Falls, NY    
Lake Placid Hilton First $300
1 Mirror Lake Drive    
Lake Placid, NY    
The McCabe Store First $300
Middle Rd.    
Crown Point, NY    
Mineville Oil Co. First $300
Plank Rd.    
Moriah Center, NY    
Newman's News First $300
117 Main St.    
Lake Placid, NY    
Norman's General Store First $300
E. Main St.    
Bloomingdale, NY    
Old Mine Saloon First $0
Witherbee Rd.    
Moriah Center, NY    
Ramada Inn First $300
8–12 Saranac Ave.    
Lake Placid, NY    
Rite Aid First $300
85 Saranac Ave.    
Lake Placid, NY    
Robo Mart First $300
1 Wilmington Rd.    
Lake Placid, NY    
Stewart's Store #160 First $300
Park St.    
Elizabethtown, NY    
Sunoco Ray Brook First $300
Rt. 86    
Ray Brook, NY    
Zig Zags First $300
130 Main St.    
Lake Placid, NY    
Franklin County    
SRF Quick Stop First $300
Main Street    
St. Regis Falls, NY    
Greene County    
Beverage Warehouse First $300
Route 9W    
West Coxsackie, NY 12192    
Clothespin Laundrette First $300
Ames Plaza, Route 9W    
Catskill, NY 12414    
The Earlton Store First $300
Route 81    
Earlton, NY 12058    
Global Fuel Mobil Station First $300
115 Mansion Street    
Coxsackie, NY 12051    
Hamilton County    
Raquette Lake Supply Co. Inc First $300
Main Street    
Raquette Lake, NY    
Herkimer County    
Manheim General Store First $300
5355 State Hwy 167    
Little Falls, NY 13365    
Rock City Grocery First $300
47 Ward Street    
Little Falls, NY 13365    
Montgomery County    
Don's West End Mobil First $500
369 West Main Street    
Amsterdam, NY 12010    
Pic 'N Tot'em First $300
165 West Main Street    
Amsterdam, NY 12010    
Otsego County    
K–Mart #9753 First $300
Southside Mall    
Oneonta, NY 13820    
K–Mart #9753 Second $500
Southside Mall    
Oneonta, NY 13820    
Sullivan County    
AeroStar Mobil First $500
Rt 42 and Decker Street    
South Fallsburg, NY 12779    
Ferndale Food Mart First $300
County Road 71    
Ferndale, NY 12734    
Helen's Country Store First $300
552 Rte 55    
Eldred, NY 12732    
Mountaindale General Store First $300
64 Main Street    
Mountaindale, NY 12763    
Perfecta Bar Second $500
3581 Rt 42 South    
Monticello, NY 12701    
Smoker's Choice Bagel Bakery First $500
Route 17B    
Mongaup Valley, NY 12762    
Smoker's Choice @ Fibber's First $100
Concord Golf Course    
Thompsonville Road    
Monticello, NY 12701    
Quick Mart Second $500
Route 52 & Hurley Road    
Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759    
Warren County    
Athol Hardware & Variety First $300
HC 115 Box 409 Mountain Rd.    
Athol, NY 12810    
Grand Union #1826 First $300
Route 9    
Chestertown, NY 12817    
Loon Lake Grocery First $300
5070 Route 8    
Chestertown, NY 12817