Clay County businesses do well in tobacco sting

Clay County businesses do well in tobacco sting by M. Jill Karolevitz If a report card were to be handed out, 23 businesses in Clay County would receive an A+ for successfully responding to a recent tobacco sales sting operation.

The sting, conducted July 12 through the South Dakota Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Pierre, yielded no takers throughout the county when a 16-year-old male tried to purchase tobacco products. Each business checked his identification and rejected his attempts to buy. South Dakota law states that no one under 18 can purchase cigarettes, chewing tobacco or cigars.

Stings such as these are conducted annually, according to Tami Bern, Clay County state's attorney.

"The state has to conduct a certain number of tobacco and alcohol stings a year to qualify for federal funds for alcohol and tobacco abuse prevention programs," she said.

"Right now, the statewide buy rate (for tobacco) is the lowest it has ever been � 5.5 percent," Bern added. "That's compared to 84 percent in 1994, according to Thomas Radecki from the inspection program."

The no-buy rate this time around in Clay County pleases Bern.

"It says that the businesses are very conscientious about the law and what's morally appropriate for young people," she said. "And it's especially difficult in a college town where it's more difficult to monitor when there are so many young people coming into the stores."

Businesses involved in Clay County were Stewart Oil & Tire, Coyote Convenience, Jones' Food Center, Choice Pharmacy, Hy-Vee, Pump 'n Pak, Bob's Amoco, Pump 'n Stuff, Casey's, Coastal, Chalky's, Main Street Pub, Varsity Pub, Players, Carey's, Charcoal Lounge, Leo's Lounge, Texas Casino, Bunyan's, Toby's, Whimp's, Shop EZ, and Freedom Valu Center.

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