Pa. County Getting Aggressive

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Pa. County Getting Aggressive

NORRISTOWN, Pa. -- Montgomery County will be stepping up enforcement of state and federal laws barring the sale of tobacco products to youths under the age of 18 over the next year

The County Health Department, working with local police departments, will be conducting sting operations three times a year at every establishment that sells cigarettes to make sure they are not selling to underage youths, according to the Pottstown (Pa.) Mercury.

There are about 1,200 facilities in the county that sell cigarettes either over the counter or through vending machines, the report said.

The county in the past has routinely conducted one sting operation a year at each establishment. These sting operations use minors, handpicked because they look 18 years old or older, who work with police in an effort to buy tobacco products from local merchants that don't ask for ID.

The state has allocated Montgomery County $5.2 million of the settlement funds for use over the next three years - the county's proceeds from the state's tobacco settlement award from cigarette companies to increase the number of sting operations, the report said.

The county had a "sell rate" of about 44 percent last year.