DOVER (WJER) (July 17, 2023) – The Tuscarawas County Health Department’s tobacco grant coordinator is feeling optimistic after the latest round of compliance checks at area retailers.
Katelyn Gorius says out of the 54 businesses selected at random for a staged visit from an underage buyer, 47 refused the sale and two didn’t have tobacco products in stock. That’s a 90-percent compliance rate, which Gorius says is phenomenal and shows the vast majority of the retailers in the county are adhering to Ohio’s Tobacco 21 law.
“All of our retailers received a letter that was branded for the health department, the sheriff’s office, and Empower Tusc, and we did give the date and time of their compliance check so they can go back and check who was working, and we encourage them all to give that praise and give a ‘thumbs-up’ to those workers.”
The five businesses that allowed the sale got visited by representatives from the health department and sheriff’s office to go over the law and what they can do to make sure they’re complying with it in the future.
“We just did educational reinforcement. There is potential in the future that it could go further, but that is ultimately up to the sheriff’s office.”
Retailers caught selling tobacco or vaping products to someone under 21 face a potential fine of up to $2,000. Clerks can be fined as much as $250 or jailed for up to 30 days.