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MAYVILLE – Ten Chautauqua County businesses violated the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act in 2013 by selling tobacco products to minors, according to a report issued by Christine Schuyler, director of the Health and Human Services Department for the county.

Schuyler said only two store operators were charged with the same violations in 2012. The Health and Human Services Department is responsible for enforcing under-age smoking provisions of the state Tobacco Control Program, which requires retailers to obtain positive proof that the person buying cigarettes is over the age of 18.

Retailers found in violation of the law are subject to fines and loss of their tobacco registration and lottery license for repeated violations, Schuyler said.

She said that tobacco is still the No. 1 cause of preventable deaths in the country, and if people do not start smoking or chewing as teenagers, they usually never start.

“Eighty percent start as teens,” Schuyler said. “Most of those people want to quit, but because of high levels of the most addictive substance in existence, nicotine, most of them fail,” she said.

More than 180 inspections of tobacco retailers were conducted by the Environmental Health Unit during 2013. These inspections were unannounced compliance checks where minors attempted to purchase tobacco under the direct supervision of the enforcement official.

. The list of retailers in violation of the law can be found on the Health and Human Services Department website at http://ny-chautauquacounty.civicplus.com/243/Environmental-Health.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com