MAHONING COUNTY Sting operations show drop in sales of tobacco to teens

The noncompliance rate was down nearly 50 percent from a similar check in February.
YOUNGSTOWN -- The percentage of businesses discovered illegally selling tobacco products to teen-agers, 13.8 percent, is the lowest since the Mahoning County District Board of Health began running sting operations in 1994.
On Aug. 14, volunteer teen-agers attempted to buy tobacco products at 58 businesses, but were successful at only eight, said Tracy Styka of the health district.
Styka, a community health education specialist who coordinates the tobacco compliance checks, said she was very pleased that the percentage of noncompliance was down from 26 percent in February 2001.
Purpose: She said the purpose of the compliance checks is to document the availability of tobacco projects to minors. The owner or clerk of the eight convenience stores that made illegal sales were cited for illegal sale of tobacco products to minors.
Under Ohio law, the first offense is a 4th degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
The second offense is a 3rd degree misdemeanor which carries a maximum 60-day jail sentence and $500 fine, Styka said.
The businesses cited for non-compliance include: Mac-Bo, doing business as the Wine Cellar, 105 S. Meridian Road, Youngstown; JB's, 2602 Glenwood Ave., Youngstown; Shell Food Mart, 998 Western Reserve Road, Boardman; Super Market, 1804 Oak St., Youngstown; Gina's Drive Thru, 1942 Glenwood Ave., Youngstown; Davis North Lima Motel, 10860 Market St., North Lima; North Lima Giant Eagle, 11734 South Ave., North Lima; and BP, 11748 Market St., North Lima.

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