STATE RENEWS GRANT FOR HACKENSACK TO PREVENT YOUTH ACCESS TO TOBACCO PRODUCTS IN 2005
The Hackensack City Health Department and the New Jersey State Department of Health and Senior Services are cosponsoring a Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement TASE program. The goal of the program is to ensure that local merchants observe the law that makes it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone who is 18 years of age in New Jersey. Here's how it works:
Teenage volunteers (15 to 17 years of age) accompanied by a Health Department Sanitary Inspector, visit local merchants and attempt to buy tobacco products. While the inspector waits outside of the store the youth, who has been instructed to tell the truth about his or her age, goes in and tries to buy a tobacco product. The youth then leaves the store and reports to the inspector whether he/she was allowed to purchase a tobacco product. If the youth was able to purchase a tobacco product, the merchant is liable for a summons, which carries a $250 to $1000 fine and/or possible license revocation. If the merchant did not sell tobacco to the minor, the inspector issues a special “Merchant Recognition Certificate” to acknowledge compliance with the law. Look for these yellow certificates in Hackensack stores that sell tobacco products.
In 2004 City Health Department conducted 62 compliance checks. Of these 62 compliance checks, 51 merchants fully complied with the laws and 11 non-compliant merchants were issued summonses to appear in municipal court. $4,450 was collected in fines. Since the program’s inception in 1994, the percent of merchants who illegally sell tobacco products to minors has been reduced from 84% to 18%. The Health Department commends those local merchants who by complying with the age of sale laws, are helping to keep our youth on the road to better health.
TIRED OF SMOKING? YOU’RE NOT ALONE
Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease. Nearly seven out of ten New Jersey smokers want to quit. Under the Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, New Jersey offers three customized no- or low-cost cessation services: New Jersey Quitnet (www.nj.quitnet.com), a free online information, counseling and referral resource; New Jersey Quitline (1-866-NJ-STOPS), a toll-free, no-cost telephone counseling service; and New Jersey Quit centers, face-to-face clinics that offer counseling on a sliding fee scale. For more information, please visit the DHSS website at www.state.nj.us/health.
Quit Smoking Programs
Mom’s Quit Connection 866-665-6242
New Jersey Quitline 866-657-8677
Tobacco Education Treatment 201-447-8612