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State Grant to Help County Crackdown on Underage Tobacco Sales

By Johnathan Graves

Buffalo, NY – County Executive Joel Giambra announced Wednesday the Heath Department has received a $220,000 state grant to conduct compliance checks to help keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors.

Under the program, an underage individual will be sent into stores to try and purchase cigarettes. Violators will be cited and fined immediately by health inspectors.

Giambra says the ultimate goal of the program is to prevent young people from picking up the smoking habit.

"We're going to do everything we can to get the word out that the best way to quit smoking is to never start," Giambra said. "Once you start, this drug is so potent that it's almost impossible to quit."

Health Commissioner Anthony Billittier says the money will be used by local police to employ the underage decoys.