CLEARFIELD -- From the summer of 2011 to 2012, underage buyers in Davis County had a tougher time buying tobacco from area stores than they did the previous year, based on Davis County Health Department tobacco stings.
Minors under 19 years of age were successful merely
4 percent of the time in buying tobacco products from Davis stores, health officials say. That figure is lower than the 5.5 percent success rate minors experienced during the previous year's sting operations.
"I'm pleased with the continued downward trend from last year's (tobacco product) buy rate when it was 5.5 percent," Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett said.
"We're down significantly from our high of 14 percent that we saw for the July 2006 to June 2007 time frame," he said.
From July 2011 to June 2012, 425 attempts to buy tobacco products were made by underage buyers supervised by local law enforcement to buy tobacco products, Garrett said. "Of those 425 attempts, 17 resulted in an illegal sale of tobacco to a minor for a county buy rate of 4 percent."
"We conduct a very robust program aimed at educating tobacco retailers how to train their clerks to identify underage buyers and it's still showing good results," Garrett said.
The health department and local law enforcement agencies have been running a program to reduce underage access to tobacco in some Davis cities since 1989.
Stores recognized for being in compliance with the program for 20 or more years are the Sinclair Main Street Service Station in Layton and the Saigon Market in Sunset.
The 7-Eleven store on Kaysville's Main Street has been in compliance for 10 or more years, officials said.
The health department is recognizing, with a "one-year award," 92 retailers in the county that were checked for tobacco compliance over the past year's round of stings and did not sell to an underage buyer.
"I extend my congratulations and appreciation to the management and staff of those retailers who work hard to keep tobacco products away from underage teens," Garrett said in a news release.
Selling tobacco products to a person under 19 years of age is a class C misdemeanor on the first offense, with store clerks issued citations at the time of the violation.
In addition, store owners are subject to civil penalties for the sale of tobacco to an underage buyer. Stores receive fines for the first two violations and a 30-day tobacco license suspension on the third violation.
For a full listing of stores being recognized for their tobacco compliance visit www.daviscountyutah.gov/health/news_releases/