Retailers in Weber County are selling fewer tobacco products to underage purchasers, according to the Weber-Morgan Health Department.
Health officials, in conjunction with the Weber County Sheriff's Department and other law enforcement agencies, oversee regular underage tobacco buyer surveys of area retailers.Since 1992, the Health Department has recorded a significant decrease in the number of outlets selling tobacco to persons under 19 years of age. The surveys are conducted by underage buyers under the direction of Weber/Morgan Health personnel and accompanied by a local law enforcement officer.
In conducting the survey, the purchaser enters a store, picks up or asks for tobacco products (including smokeless chew) and if served, pays and walks out with the purchase. The law enforcement officer and Health Department employee then inform the cashier or manager of the underage purchase and a citation is issued.
All retailers in the area have been warned about underage sales. All retailers have also received education packets and are urged to post signs specifying ID requirements.
Since 1992, the percent of retailers selling to underage buyers has dropped from 22 to 17 percent in Weber County. According to Kim Hall, Health Education Specialist, the change is "a significant drop, and the retailers of Weber County should be commended."
Morgan County has not fared as well, with 57 percent of surveyed retailers selling to underage purchasers.
"The stores who manage their people and make it a policy to ID everyone under 30 are the ones who are successful in controlling sales," said Ogden Police Detective Kruitbosch. He and Weber County Sheriff's Lt. Brad Slater are among several law enforcement officers who work closely with the Health Department programs.