During a recent compliance check campaign conducted as a joint effort between the Merrill Police Department and other state agencies, local retailers were flawless in their efforts to prevent tobacco sales to underage persons.
According to Captain Corey Bennett, the checks are conducted annually in conjunction with the State Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Health Services as part of the WI WINS.
The WI WINS program aims to prevent tobacco sales to minors through enforcement activity as well as maintaining Wisconsin’s youth tobacco access rate below the federal requirement of 20%.
As Bennett relates, this is the second year of 100% compliance from area retailers.
Last year, 29 checks were completed with zero in non-compliance and this year 33 checks were completed with zero in non-compliance. In 2012, only one area retailer was found to be in non-compliance.
“This is just outstanding,” Bennett said. “Compared to other compliance rates this is just fantastic. We are ready to take enforcement action if necessary, but it is great to know our local retailers are doing their part to address the issue of underage tobacco sales. Our goal in everything we do is to achieve 100% compliance and we would certainly like to see this sort of success spread.”
As Bennett alluded to, if and when a retailer is found to be in non-compliance with laws pertaining to sale of tobacco to underage persons, and enforcement action is necessary; a citation in the amount of $199.60 is issued. If a second offense occurs within a 12 month period, the citation amount is increased to $262.60.