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    Another Tobacco License Suspended

    For the second time in two days a convenience store operator is stripped of its ability to sell cigarettes.

    MILFORD, Conn. -- A second company in as many days has lost its license to sell tobacco. This time in Connecticut.

    The Milford Board of Health yesterday suspended the tobacco sales license of the Shell Plaza convenience store for three months, effective tomorrow. Earlier this week, an Ohio SuperAmerica convenience store had its tobacco license suspended for one year after it was caught selling tobacco to a minor for the fifth time in two years.

    George Clemens, Milford's director of tobacco control, told the board that attendants at the store had been caught in sting operations selling cigarettes to minors three times within a two-year period. The law says people must be at least 18 to buy tobacco products.

    Because this is Plaza Shell's third violation, the board could have permanently suspended its license to sell tobacco products. The city conducts sting operations quarterly, as recommended by the state. The operations are routine and no establishment is targeted, Clemens said.

    At the hearing, Plaza Shell owner Richard Baima said any suspension of his tobacco license will have a great financial impact on his business. "We take the violations very seriously," he said. He asked the board to take into account the number of times his station has passed tobacco sting operations, adding the clerks caught selling cigarettes to minors were immediately fired.

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