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Health officials pleased with local Tobacco 21 compliance rate

| June 6, 2024

DOVER (WJER) (June 6, 2024) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department and the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office are back at keeping area businesses honest when it comes to selling tobacco products to underage buyers.

Health Educator Lakyn Craig says the two agencies recently partnered again with Empower Tusc for annual compliance checks. This time they visited 57 stores throughout the county to see if they are following Ohio’s Tobacco 21 law.

“The sheriff’s office and the Tuscarawas County Health Department have a volunteer that is an underage purchaser that is under the age of 21. The underage purchaser enters the retail establishment and attempts to purchase a tobacco produce,” Craig said.

Craig says 51 of the 57 tobacco retailers passed their checks, resulting in an 89 percent compliance rate.

“I think the Tuscarawas County Health Department was excited to see the compliance rate did not decrease too much from previous years,” she said. “Last year, our compliance rate was 90 percent across Tuscarawas County, so 89 percent is about right on par.”

Craig says the health department mails a packet of educational materials to stores that passed their compliance checks and delivers the packets in person with the sheriff’s office to those that failed the checks.

“We do encourage retailers to continue educating their staff about Tobacco 21 and if they have any questions about Tobacco 21, they can contact us here at the Tuscarawas County Health Department,” said Craig.

The county health department also indicated that two of those locations that failed compliance checks were within a half-mile of a school, making access to youth greater.

Craig says the penalty for a retailer caught selling to an underage purchaser during a tobacco compliance check is determined by the sheriff’s office.


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