When it comes to turning down minors who are trying to buy tobacco, being better than average isn’t good enough for manager Nikki Dauk.
The family business, West Acres All-Stop Service Center, where Dauk has worked since she was 16, has failed four of its 46 tobacco compliance checks since 1996, for a compliance rate of 91.3% – almost 2% higher than the overall average among Fargo retailers.
However, for Dauk, it burns.
“It kills me, the four (failures), to be honest,” she said. “We take very seriously. I do not like to think that children can buy tobacco.”
In general, public health officials say retailers in Cass and Clay counties do a good job of carding young people who are trying to buy cigarettes and chewing.
As reported by Forum two weeks ago, the overall success rate to match the alcohol ranged in age from 90% to 95% in Fargo, Moorhead, West Fargo and Cass and Clay County from 2004 to 2011.
Tobacco compliance rates are slightly lower: 89.4% in Fargo from 1996 to 2011 and 88.2% in Clay County, including Moorhead, from 2003 to 2011. Only in the last three years data were readily available from West Fargo, showed a compliance rate of 92.1%, while Cass County had two years of available data.
Holly Scott, a teacher of the medical community in charge of compliance checks on tobacco Fargo Cass Public Health, said that other factors, such as non-smoking ordinances, and tobacco-free policies in schools make it difficult to verify compliance with the consequences of youth smoking.
But the statewide Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted every two years, may shed some light on the subject.
Review of last year, the results in this field Fargo showed that juvenile who smoked in grades 9-12, the percentage that usually have their own cigarettes by buying them in a store or gas station was 4.7%. This was 2% compared to 2009 survey and 3.3% from a 2003 survey.
The prevalence of smoking among students in grades 9-12 also fell in the area of Fargo, with 18.4% in 2009 to 13.1% last year statewide from 22.4% to 19.4%.
In terms of initiatives and money spent, Scott said the compliance checks are a small part of Fargo Cass Public Health’s overall tobacco program. The annual budget for the checks is about $4,500, which covers officers’ time and youth helpers’ pay.
And in compliance with the speed, which constantly hovers around 90 percent, officials are satisfied with the program, Scott said.
“I think part of this is that with all the other initiatives that we have in place, tobacco use is becoming less socially acceptable,” she said. “And so I think it is very common for agencies now understand that they should check ID to sell tobacco. It’s just not as outrageous as it was maybe 30 years ago to ask someone for ID, to buy cigarettes.”
Like alcohol testing compliance, asking identifiers do not necessarily mean the clerk will catch minors trying to buy explosives. Scott estimated that more than 50 percent were unable to test related to identifiers that are transferred and age or calculated incorrectly or not installed at all.
“Just because a child hands you the ID does not mean that they are of legal age for anything,” Scott said.
“Just because a kid hands you an ID doesn’t mean they’re of legal age for anything,” Scott said.
In the West Acres All-Stop, the new employees are trained to check IDs and then must sign a document stating that they understand the policies and procedures, shop, Dauk said.
“Legal as of this date” calendar on display in a store and register the function with the clerks to help evaluate whether the purchaser is old enough.
But even this is not foolproof: In the past failures of compliance testing shop, September 12, the clerk punched in a buyer’s birthday incorrectly, and cleaned the registry sales, Dauk said.
“We tried, but all make mistakes,” she said. “But we try to instill that this is a very important thing.
For inspections, the team with two police assistants selected youth Fargo Cass public health. Juveniles use their own IDs and say do not try to look older than his years.
“Our intention with this business not to deceive in the sale of tobacco products to minors,” said Scott. “Indeed, the philosophy verifies that tobacco is a way to assist businesses in ensuring that they are in accordance with law.”
In Clay County, where the sheriff’s office conducts unannounced compliance checks of all tobacco retailers at least once a year, the first violation carries a $75 penalty and a written warning. There’s a $200 fine and three-day license suspension for the second violation and a $250 fine and 10-day suspension for the third violation. The retailer’s tobacco license is revoked upon a fourth violation. The enforcement period dates back to 2008.
The individual who sells the tobacco is charged a $50 penalty, said Keely Ihry, project manager for Clay County Public Health.
Tobacco license fees support the compliance checks, which cost about $50 per check, Ihry said.
In Cass County, businesses that do not match test received a warning for his first failure, a three-day suspension of tobacco retail license for the second failure within the next 12 months and 10-day suspension for a third refusal within 12 months. Clerk or cashier who sold the tobacco faces $ 50 violations in municipal court.
In contrast to verify compliance with alcohol, in which Fargo businesses that do not can face fines check of $ 500 to $ 750, no monetary penalties for non-compliance checks of tobacco, for profits lost, not being able to sell tobacco.
Scott said Cass Fargo public health officials have discussed the idea, but she does not know if the agency will have staff that can pursue monetary penalties.
“I think in the future it wouldn’t be a bad idea to take a look at what the penalty structure is and see if there would be a way to improve that,” she said.