WESTCHESTER – As part of County Executive George Latimer’s initiative aimed at cracking down on illegal vape sales, the Westchester County Department of Health has been conducting more frequent and enhanced compliance checks. These checks over the last two months have resulted in more than 70 inspections of licensed facilities in the County.
One of the largest illegal vape sales the County Health Department has come across in the history of the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) program occurred last week. This “bust” was done in combination with Greenburgh Drug and Alcohol Taskforce. The Taskforce is made up of Police Agencies from Ardsley, Greenburgh, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Irvington, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and North Castle. The County confiscated all of the product and have it secured and the operator was issued a ticket and has a hearing on the issue pending.
Latimer said, “In our pursuit of protecting public health – particularly in the case of minors, our initiative against illegal vape sales is showing real results. Through intensified compliance checks and strong partnerships like the recent operation with Greenburgh Drug and Alcohol Taskforce, we’re combatting this issue. Our actions, supported by dedicated teams, are showing results. While most comply, we’re taking a stand against illegal sales, confiscating banned products and upholding our commitment to a healthier Westchester County. We salute the County professionals who enforce these laws every day.”
Since the County began the enhanced enforcement, utilizing Department of Public Safety Park Ranger under the age of 21 and a larger group of trained staff (sanitarians), the County has seen greater results with enforcement of NYS Tobacco Regulations.
Although the majority of checks have resulted in facilities being in compliance, there have been multiple illegal sales of tobacco products to minors across the county. In addition, the County Health Department has also seized hundreds of flavored vape tobacco products which are illegal to sell in New York State.
Facilities that are found to be in violation of New York State Public Health Law Article 13-F are issued an appearance ticket by the Department of Health where significant fines may be assessed in addition to potentially losing their license to sell tobacco products.