Dr. Novello Announces $3 Million in Grants for Local Tobacco Control Programs

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Friday, December 8, 2000 | Categories:
DOH Also Releases Second Annual Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Report Albany, December 8, 2000 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H. today announced that the State will award $3 million in grants – an increase of more than $1 million – to local governments to fund Governor Pataki's aggressive youth tobacco enforcement program. In addition, the Department of Health today released statistics from its soon–to–be–released second annual Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program Report. Dr. Novello said, "Over the past few months, Governor Pataki and I have made several announcements surrounding the State's anti–tobacco media campaign with a focus on stopping teen smoking and adult cessation. We've also announced nearly $5 million in funding to our partners at the local level who will work with the DOH in a coordinated manner to help reduce smoking in New York. And today, we are announcing one of the most important youth oriented components of our campaign – $3 million to local governments that will go toward fighting to keep tobacco products away from New York's children." As part of the Governor's $60 million anti–smoking campaign, $3 million is provided for the Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program to conduct retailer compliance inspections (including thousands with the cooperation of minors attempting to purchase over–the–counter tobacco products) and the training of local enforcement officers in the surveillance of vendors. In addition to the money announced to prevent youths from having access to tobacco products, the State Health Department released the 1998–99 Youth Tobacco Access Enforcement Report. The report showed that in the second year, about 25,000 compliance checks were conducted, resulting in fines against 3,270 retailers, totaling more than $900,000. In the two years (1998–1999) since Governor Pataki provided $4.5 million to support the 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. Dr. Novello said, "Thanks to Governor Pataki's support for the youth enforcement program, we are seeing significant results in the form of compliance checks and fines against retailers that have sold cigarettes to youths. More than 52,000 compliance checks have been conducted over the past two years and I am very pleased with the results of this program. We have also seen that retailers are doing a better job of making sure that teens are not being sold tobacco and preliminary information from the third year shows that trend is continuing." Dr. Novello said that more than $2 million was allocated annually in the first two years of the Youth Access Tobacco Enforcement Program as part of the State's youth anti–smoking campaign to assist counties and local enforcement officials in their efforts to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco products to minors. Highlights of the 1998–1999 Youth Enforcement Report follow: More than $1.4 million has been collected from the $1.9 million levied against 7,316 retailers for the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors in the first two years of the program. Over two years, 52,000 compliance checks have been performed with more than 40,000 conducted with the assistance of minors. More than 4,500 retailers and vending machine owners were reported to the State Department of Taxation and Finance for lack of required registration to sell tobacco products in the first two years of the program. Approximately 930 were reported in the 1998–99 program year. The State Health Department awarded a two–year, $500,000 grant award to a merchant association representing tobacco retailers to educate retail vendors about the law. In the youth enforcement program, local governments perform compliance checks in 35 counties and New York City. In the remaining counties, State Health Department district office staff performs the inspections. Under New York State law, tobacco retailers are required to register with the State Department of Taxation and Finance. On August 30, 2000, Governor Pataki strengthened the State's youth enforcement program by signing into law a measure that 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. Specifically, civil fines will be imposed in the following way: Fines for first–time violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 will be increased from a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $300 to a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $1,000. A new fine for repeat violators who sell cigarettes or other tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18 will be set at a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $1,500. A new fine for retail dealers who sell tobacco products while their registration is suspended or revoked will be set at $2,500. 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 revokes the registration for one year for three or more violations. A violation while a retailer's registration is suspended or revoked will result in permanent 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 of it for committing 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. 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 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 (1–888–609–6292); 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. 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. It also includes tough new enforcement provisions to help combat cigarette bootlegging. Additionally, effective February 1, 2001, herbal cigarettes can not be sold to persons under 18 years of age. Lastly, effective October 1, 2001, bidis, a tobacco product which is attractive to young people, may only be sold by a tobacco business such as a tobacco speciality shop. 12/8/00–139–OPA Youth Tobacco Enforcement Funding To Local Governments October 1, 2000 – September 30, 2001 County Funding Albany $57,694 Allegany 17,460 Broome 33,794 Cattaraugus 20,690 Cayuga 24,196 Chautauqua 33,424 Chemung 22,351 Clinton 26,411 Columbia 20,782 Cortland 16,721 Dutchess 51,881 Erie 130,597 Genesee 20,136 Livingston 20,228 Madison 18,290 Monroe 87,317 Nassau 213,281 NYC 1,301,465 Niagara 34,993 Oneida 40,807 Onondaga 66,553 Orange 60,371 Orleans 16,075 Oswego 26,872 Putnam 24,381 Rensselaer 32,317 Rockland 47,267 Schenectady 31,763 Schoharie 15,153 Seneca 16,721 Suffolk 215,127 Tioga 16,075 Tompkins 25,211 Ulster 39,515 Westchester 157,451 Wyoming 16,629 Total $3,000,000
NYS Dept of Health
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