Local News

State Agencies Honor Clerks For Refusing To Sell Tobacco To Minors

Posted March 3, 2004

— Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue awarded Tobacco Enforcement Excellence (TEE) certificates today to retail clerks in Raleigh as part of the "No Ifs, Ands, or Butts Campaign," a new tobacco prevention program recognizing individual shop attendants for keeping tobacco products out of the hands of minors. Simultaneously, more than 3,000 TEE certificates will go out to clerks across the state.

"Retail clerks are on the front lines of protecting North Carolina youth from tobacco products," said Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, chair of the Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission (HWTFC). "We want to acknowledge those people that do the right thing by asking for identification from young people before selling any tobacco product."

The N.C. Health & Wellness TEE Awards recognize the personal commitment of retail workers to keep underage youth from purchasing any type of tobacco products. Throughout the year, area retail clerks will be presented with certificates, recognizing their efforts for reducing youth access to tobacco products.

The North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division (ALE) performs between 600 and 1,000 compliance checks a month throughout the state. More than 6,100 TEE certificates are expected to be awarded throughout the year.

ALE and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services partnered to develop the tobacco education and compliance program, which is funded by the HWTFC.

Facts about tobacco's toll on our kids, our families and our economy:

Every day, about 3,000 teens in America start smoking. Of those, approximately one in three will die of a smoking related disease. Approximately 28 percent of high school students in North Carolina smoke. Approximately 210,000 kids under 18 who are alive today in North Carolina will die prematurely due to smoking. Reducing the number of young people who take up tobacco will help to reduce the estimated $4.7 billion that North Carolina spends each year to cover the tab for health care and lost productivity costs related to smoking.

ABOUT THE N.C. HEALTH & WELLNESS TRUST FUND COMMISSION The Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission (HWTFC) makes North Carolina stronger, both physically and economically, by funding programs that promote preventive health. Created by the General Assembly in 2000 to allocate a portion of North Carolina's share of the national tobacco settlement, HWTFC has invested $43 million to support preventive health initiatives and $90 million to fund a prescription drug assistance program. For more information on how preventive health is good for our lives and good for our wallets, please visit www.hwtfc.org.

ABOUT THE ALCOHOL LAW ENFORCEMENT DIVISION

Alcohol Law Enforcement Division's Tobacco Education and Enforcement "No Ifs, Ands or Butts" Campaign is conducted in partnership with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, NC DHHS and the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission. It is also a cooperative effort among community agencies, local law enforcement agencies, merchants, parents and teens. ALE, a division of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety, has 76 agents across North Carolina who enforces alcohol and tobacco laws. In 1997, by Executive Order of the Governor, ALE was designated the lead state agency for enforcement of the laws governing sales of tobacco to underage persons.

ABOUT THE N.C. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is responsible for ensuring the health, safety and well being of all North Carolinians, providing the human service needs for fragile populations like the mentally ill, deaf, blind and developmentally disabled, and helping poor North Carolinians achieve economic independence. The agency touches the lives of virtually every North Carolinian from birth to old age--prenatal programs, child development programs, and rest home regulations, are all part of DHHS charge.

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