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 June 8th, 2009  
Tobacco sales compliance operation shows 92 percent compliance with laws against sale of tobacco products to those under 18, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Mascara
A Tuesday night undercover operation in St. Lucie County showed that 92 percent of the 58 stores visited refused to sell tobacco products to those under 18, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken J. Mascara.

“We thank all those stores who are following the law,” Sheriff Mascara said. “Sadly, the five stores that didn’t follow the law all were large chain stores.”

St. Lucie County School Resource Deputies teamed up with the state Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and the St. Lucie County Health Department’s FACE IT program (”Families Acting Collaboratively to Educate and Involve Teens”) for the Tuesday night operation. Three teams each included a volunteer teenager who was younger than 18. State law prohibits the sale of tobacco products to those under 18.

The offenders received a citation and a notice to appear in court to defend their actions.

The stores that violated the law were:

- Flying J Truck Stop, Kings Highway

- Walgreens, 2423 Orange Avenue, Fort Pierce

- Hess station, 3045 South U.S.1, Fort Pierce

- CVS, 1300 block of St. Lucie West Boulevard, Port St. Lucie

- Walgreens, 692 Prima Vista Boulevard, Port St. Lucie

More information about the work of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is available at its web site www.myflorida.com/dbpr/abt/index.html

The FACE IT program funded the overtime for the deputies who participated in the operation as part of the Tobacco Prevention and Education Control Program of the St. Lucie County Health Department.

Here is more information about the program from Tobacco Prevention Specialist Marcella M. Capar of the St. Lucie County Health Department:

The Tobacco Prevention and Education Control Program at the St. Lucie County Health Department focuses on the establishment of local policy and system changes to prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults, eliminate secondhand smoke exposure, promote cessation from tobacco use and maintain our Tobacco Free Partnership of St. Lucie County including SWAT, Students Working Against Tobacco, Chapters.

It is through our partners we have been able to develop and maintain the movement towards local policy and systems change. We supported Tradition Field home of the New York Mets Spring Training and the St. Lucie Mets in becoming a Tobacco Free Facility as of April 1, 2008.

In celebration of the Great American Smoke Out St. Lucie Medical Center became a Tobacco Free Campus and Lawnwood Regional Medical Center and Heart Institute followed suit and became a Tobacco Free Campus on January 1, 2009. Tobacco Free Campuses protect and promote the health of staff, inpatients and outpatients and decrease smoking-related employee costs while reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.

Our program supports cessation efforts at our hospitals, in our schools and within the community through programs such as Not On Tobacco, a youth cessation class taught to high school students, Quit Smoking Now through the Area Health Education Center, Freedom from Smoking through the American Lung Association and the Florida Quit for Life Line through the Department of Health. 1-877-822-6669 toll free Tobacco Use Cessation Quitline.

We mobilize youth against an industry that produces the number one cause of preventable death. With Students Working Against Tobacco our youth engage other youth in activities in schools and within the county to counteract the tobacco industry deceptive marketing practices and deglamorize tobacco use. SWAT youth educate elementary, middle and high school students through activities and presentations that increase the awareness of the dangers of tobacco.

Families Acting Collaboratively to Educate and Involve Teens, FACE IT (sm), is a program for youth ages 12-18 that may have tobacco, alcohol and other drug problems in their lives. The program emphasizes on relationship building and communication while attending the class with the youth’s parent or guardian.

Youth and their parent or caregiver attend an 8 week session, one session weekly and can be referred by Youth Court, Department of Juvenile Justice, Civil Citation, and Juvenile Assessment Center and as an Alternative to Suspension from school reducing or eliminating out of school suspension days. Since our program started in April 2008 we have helped over 100 families with over 50 graduates to date.

For further information on any of our programs please contact Marcella Bianco at 772-871-5392 or Marcella_capar@doh.state.fl.us.

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