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    Retailers Getting the Message

    Study shows fewer convenience store operators are selling tobacco to youths.

    Compliance checks by the Stark County Health Department in the past few weeks showed that 49 of 57 local retailers, the majority of whom were convenience store owners, refused to sell tobacco products to youths, Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal.

    That means the county's noncompliance rate -- 14 percent -- was down 22 percent from last year, according to Health Commissioner William J. Franks. Compliance was 100 percent in the city of Alliance, where police had issued citations to offending retailers during the last few months, the report said.

    Volunteers from local schools' Teen Institute chapters attempted to buy tobacco from approximately 10 percent of the county's licensed vendors. The retailers who sold tobacco to youngsters will be sent a warning letter from the Health Department. Those in compliance will get a congratulatory letter.

    Federal law requires states to make an effort to reduce tobacco sales to minors or lose up to 40 percent of their federal funds for substance abuse programs. "Random, unannounced inspections" of vendors are part of the law.

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