Tobacco compliance check nets five citations |

Tobacco compliance check nets five citations

SUMMIT COUNTY – Eighty-eight percent of stores inspected in a tobacco compliance check Wednesday passed the test and refused to sell cigarettes to minors.

The Summit Prevention Alliance (SPA) organized the check, involving officers from each of Summit County’s five law enforcement agencies. Teens from Park County were used as test subjects and attempted to purchase cigarettes from 40 Summit stores. The teens give their real ages and identifications if asked.

Only five stores sold to the teens. Prevention coordinator Beverly Gmerek said the check showed significant improvement over last year’s check, in which only 49 percent of clerk’s observed the age-limit law.

“This is great,” Gmerek said. “It means people are checking IDs, and we’re really happy to see that.”

Gmerek attributed some of the success in the check to SPA’s aggressive education efforts, which also include alcohol compliance checks. The first alcohol sale checks were conducted in 1998.

“We’re doing them so frequently, we’re really not getting negative responses anymore,” Gmerek said. “Management knows we’ll be doing it, and they encourage their employees to be aware of that. And, they get a hearty congratulations from the police when they pass – that goes a long way.”

The five clerks who failed the check were issued citations. Fines for furnishing tobacco to minors can be as much as $200.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 237 or

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