Three Niagara County stores received citations and fines from the Niagara County Sheriff's Office and Niagara County Department of Health recently, accused of selling tobacco products to minors.
Investigators enlisted in the help of local 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds to conduct 74 compliance checks at Niagara County stores from July 1 to September 30 of this year. All but three of the stores passed the compliance checks. The stores found to be in violation were as follows:
- Bray and Bray, 2717 Pine Avenue, Niagara Falls
- Bernardi's Rapid Mart, 7195 Rapids Road, Lockport
- Kwik Stop Mart, 39 Locust Street, Lockport
The violations issued were the first for each of these three businesses. Authorities fined the stores a combined total of $1,850. The stores must also conduct employee training under the supervision of the health department. Under state law, penalties for each violation for selling tobacco products to minors can range from $300 to $2,500, depending on whether it is a store's first violation or a repeat violation.
These violations amount to a 3.5% non-compliance rate in Niagara County, that rate is currently better than the statewide rate of 5.0%.