CONSUMER AFFAIRS RELEASES LIST OF DIRTY
WHO HAVE HAD THEIR TOBACCO LICENSE REVOKED
FOR SELLING REPEATEDLY TO KIDS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2004
Business Compliance at Record High 85%
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
(DCA) Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra today released a list
of 128 Dirty Dealers that had their tobacco
license revoked from October 2003 through May 2004 for selling
repeatedly to kids. Of the 128 revocations, 53 were in Brooklyn,
35 were in Manhattan, 20 were in the Bronx, 18 were in Queens,
and two were in Staten Island. Retailers caught selling
cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18 twice within two
years are required to pay hefty City and State fines. Commissioner
Dykstra was joined at the announcement by teens participating
in DCAs undercover tobacco prevention program, members
of Reality Check, a statewide initiative focused on youth-to-youth
advocacy against the tobacco industry, and representatives
from anti-tobacco organizations.
Selling cigarettes to kids is terrible
for their health and dangerous to your business, said
DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra. Business compliance
is at an all-time high of 85%, due in large part to DCAs
tough enforcement, but theres still more work to do.
New York City has the best teen tobacco enforcement program
in the country and the message is clear: If you sell to
kids, itll cost you big fines and your license.
In addition to licensing approximately 12,000
tobacco retailers in New York City, the DCA runs the Teen
Tobacco and Prevention Program where approximately 70 teens,
ages 14-17, working with agency inspectors go undercover
to curb illegal sales to minors. Accompanied by a DCA inspector,
teens conduct routine inspections all year long in all five
boroughs, by going into stores and attempting to purchase
cigarettes. If they are not asked for identification, the
vendor is cited by DCA. City fines are $1,000 for the first
offense and $2,000 for the second, plus license revocation.
State fines are a maximum of $1,000 for the first offense
and $1,500 for each thereafter, plus possible license revocation.
(DCAs Teen Tobacco Enforcement Program is made possible
by a New York State grant administered by the New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene).
Since the program formally began in 1998,
compliance among City businesses has increased by more than
30%. Prior to the start of the program, a DCA survey in
1993 showed 85% of businesses inspected sold to kids.
In fiscal year 2004 (July 1, 2003 - June 30,
2004), the DCA conducted 14,588 inspections citywide, an
increase of 2,000 from fiscal year 2003. Currently, Queens
has the highest compliance rate of all five boroughs at
89%, followed by Brooklyn at 86%, the Bronx at 85%, Staten
Island at 84% and Manhattan at 84%.
We commend the Department of Consumer
Affairs for its tough and effective enforcement of illegal
cigarette sales to kids, said Joanne Koldare, Director,
NYC Coalition For A Smoke Free City. Continuous enforcement,
especially at the local level, is essential to keeping businesses
accountable and lowering teen smoking rates.
Cracking down on stores who sell cigarettes
to kids is an important part in the Citys comprehensive
approach to reducing youth smoking in New York City. These
programs have begun to work, but there are still approximately
25,000 New York City kids who get hooked on cigarettes every
year which is why it is so important to maintain these efforts
so we can continue to see these great results year after
year, said William V. Corr, Executive Director of
the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
The DCA Teen Prevention and Enforcement Program
pays $7.25 an hour (plus MetroCards). On average students
can work 20-25 hours per week with flexibility, as inspections
are conducted every day. Those participating are also required
to take a no-smoking pledge.
DCA enforces the New York City Consumer Protection
Law, as well as other related laws, at thousands of businesses
throughout New York City. DCA licenses more than 60,000
businesses in 55 different categories and educates both
consumers and businesses alike through free community seminars,
licensing forums, and other informational materials.
For more information or to file a complaint,
call 3-1-1, or visit the DCA web site at www.nyc.gov/consumers