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More than 206 retailers in two Massachusetts cities, most of whom were convenience store operators, were nearly 80-percent compliant with state and federal tobacco laws that prohibit sales of tobacco products to minors, the Boston Herald reported.
The Fall River/Westport (Mass.) Board of Health Tobacco Control Program in conjunction with the Fall River Police Department conducted a series of three citywide tobacco compliance checks between July 18 and Aug. 1.
As part of the operation police targeted 206 tobacco retailers. According to Joseph Borges, director of the Fall River/Westport Board of Health Tobacco Control Program, 151 stores did not sell cigarettes to a minor, 39 stores sold cigarettes to a minor and 16 retailers were unable to be accessed. The overall compliance rate for the operation was is 79.5 percent, he said.
The Fall River/Westport Board of Health Tobacco Control Program conducts citywide tobacco compliance checks to ensure that tobacco retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors. Violators are subject to fines and loss of their tobacco licenses, the report said.
First-time offenders in a calendar year are fined $50, a second offense $100, and three-time offenders are fined $200 and receive a summons to appear before the Board of Health for a possible license suspension.
While Borges was disappointed by the results, he acknowledged tobacco retailers in the cities "who have worked diligently to train and educate employees to card or ID individuals who are under the age of 18."