SALAMANCA – With tobacco use among youth a major concern, especially in areas where less expensive cigarettes are abundant, members of the Common Council heard statistics and options that could help fight abuse by minors.
Lindsay Ball, coordinator of the Tricounty Tobacco-Free Program; Jon Chaffee, of Reality Check; and Sandy Brundage, of the Salamanca Youth Center, presented statistics Wednesday of youth tobacco use throughout Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. After showing Council members how tobacco companies target youth to start the smoking habit, the three suggested ways that the city and other municipalities could step up prevention among the young.
The ideas included requiring a municipal license for tobacco dealers. A state license is in place, but a municipal license would help to limit the number of new establishments that could come into the area to sell cigarettes and other products.
“The license would also give you, the Common Council, the ability to revoke authority of a merchant to sell tobacco products within the city,” Chaffee said.
Other ideas include changing zoning laws to establish restrictions on areas where tobacco could be sold, as well as changing marketing guides to limit the visibility of the products to minors.
The City of Salamanca has a local law that gives police the authority to confiscate tobacco products from young people. The three speakers said that while enforcement of that law is at a good level, they would like to see more vigilance.
In other actions, the Council voted to:
• Rename part of West Hetzel Street, excluding the southern-most section, along with an extension of RC Hoag Drive to Ohi:yo’ Way. The action was requested by the Seneca Nation of Indians to aid in GPS navigation, according to Mayor Carmen Vecchiarella.
• Adopt a resolution authorizing the city comptroller to cancel Indian lease bills and county tax bills for those who have immunity status. “That’s something that takes place once a month or so,” Vecchiarella said. “Anyone that’s immune, we just cancel them out through our comptroller.”
• Approved an agreement with American Appraisal Associates of New York to update the fixed-assets accounting ledger for accounting and financial reporting, at a cost of $1,070. “This is an annual resolution, where we have our accounting measures updated,” Vecchiarella said.
• Authorized the sale of a city-owned lot on Prospect Avenue to Lance and Lane Hoag, of Salamanca, for $500. According to Vecchiarella, the lot is about 30 feet by 100 feet and abuts property owned by the Hoags. The land, according to terms of purchase, will remain on the tax rolls.
The Council’s next meeting will take place at 7 p.m. March 13.