Centerville tobacco sale penalty stands

May 10 2011 - 9:28pm

CLEARFIELD -- On Tuesday, the Davis County Board of Health unanimously reaffirmed its decision to fine a Centerville tobacco store owner $2,300 in civil penalties for selling tobacco to a minor.

The owner of The City Smoke Shop in Centerville, 356 N. Marketplace Drive, filed an appeal with the Davis County Board of Health to reduce the cumulative amount of the civil penalties assessed by the health department.

But the health board, after assigning board member Brian Cook to host an independent hearing on the appeal, voted unanimously to leave the entire amount of the fine in place in hopes of deterring the store, which is still in operation, from selling tobacco to minors in the future.

"Bottom line, no reduction," said Davis County Health Director Lewis R. Garrett.

Because the store clerks sold tobacco to minors on multiple occasions, Garrett said, health board members were of the opinion the store owner did not deserve any leniency.

The City Smoke Shop received six tobacco citations within a year, said Christa Johnson, executive assistant for the state tax commissioners.

Garrett said that on a couple of occasions, as Centerville police and health department personnel conducted tobacco-compliance checks on the store, the store owner was found selling tobacco to minors.

Police and the health department were initially alerted to the store after the city began receiving complaints from parents who were concerned minors were obtaining tobacco products from there, Garrett said.

Utah law states it is unlawful to sell tobacco products to anyone younger than 19. The first offense is a class C misdemeanor; the second offense is a class B misdemeanor; and all subsequent offenses are class A misdemeanors.

"I think this is a decent resolution to the issue," Garrett said.

The tobacco store is currently being sold, and the new owner has assured police and health personnel that it will comply with the law, Garrett said.

The store owner, who made the written appeal to reduce the fines, did not attend Tuesday's health board meeting. But in an earlier story, the woman, who refused to be identified, told the Standard-Examiner she did not intend to sell to minors.

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