July 2 2018

Two Businesses Issued Tobacco Sale Suspensions for Compliance Check Failure

By: Rich Hosford

Two Burlington businesses will be unable to lawfully sell tobacco products after each failed a second tobacco sale compliance check within a 36-month period.


The Burlington Board of Health handed out the suspension to the businesses during its June 26 meeting. Each was approved with a unanimous vote by the board.


The first business before the board was Town Pantry at 85 Wilmington Road. According to the report the business sold a JUUL pod, a type of electronic cigarette, to an underage buyer who was acting on behalf of the board on June 6. The business had failed a similar check on June 6, 2016.


Board Chairman Wayne Saltsman said the board had put in a lot of work recently, including upping the age of tobacco sales to 21, in an effort to protect Burlington’s youth. He added the board needed businesses in the community to join in that effort.


“We actually had an entire board meeting dedicated to these other tobacco products that have been sought out by younger individuals and our concerns around them,” he said, referring to electronic vaping devices.  


Saltsman also addressed the idea that some people may not think it a big deal for a business to sell to underage buyers two times in two years.


“People might say ‘gee, it was two years ago,’” he said. “But it is one more sale to a youth when we are trying to protect our community.”


The board then voted to approve a seven-day suspension of tobacco sales for the business that will run from Monday, July 9 to Sunday, July 15.


The second business before the board was One Stop Mart at 31 Winn Street. According to the report, on June 12 an employee at the store also sold a JUUL pod to an underage buyer. The store last failed a tobacco sale compliance check on May 6, 2016.


Saltsman asked the manager at the business about the last time he was before the board in 2016, reminding that at that time he had said the business would conduct internal stings to ensure employee compliance with the laws.


“You’ve been here before and you told us you were going to do things so this would never happen again,” he said, later adding: “We’re advocating for our children and you know the work we’ve done on that - and you had done work on that. We need you to step up to the plate and do the right thing.”


The board approved a seven-day suspension of tobacco sales for the business that will run from Monday, July 9 to Sunday, July 15.


Board Vice-Chair Ed Weiner said the intent of the suspensions is less to penalize a business than to ensure compliance by all of the businesses that sell tobacco in town.


“We have worked very hard to make sure everyone in the community knew it is 21,” he said. “And it’s not just Burlington, it’s multiple cities and towns in the area.  I just want to do the consistent thing with the penalty. we’re not interested in hurting anyone but we have to be consistent.”


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