SOUTHBOROUGH, Mass. — An article at the April Town Meeting would call for the creation of a fund to help pay for compliance checks of stores that sell tobacco products under a proposal from the Southborough Board of Health.
The proposal calls for a $500 annual charge for each of the town's eight tobacco vendors, creating a $4,000 fund. This money would cover the cost of administering compliance checks.
Typically, the town uses volunteer underage high school students to conduct the checks by posing as customers and trying to buy tobacco products. Vendors who sell to these students are fined and placed on probation if they continue to do so.
But the town recently had trouble attracting volunteers, Health Agent Paul Pisinski told the board. He suggested using some of the fund to pay students $10 per hour. The money could also be used to pay stipends to the trained adults — usually police officers — who accompany the students on the compliance checks.
According to the town's tobacco regulations, two-year tobacco permits cost $200, which goes into the general fund.
"Many of the vendors selling these products make a substantial profit," Pisinski said, warning the board that owners will be "hollering" about the extra expense.
"I can't say I'm to worried about the tobacco vendors," board member Nancy Sacco said.
"Setting this up would allow us to have a sustainable program for tobacco control for youth in town," Chairman Louis Fazen III said. He suggesting using some of the money to fund programs to teach employees of tobacco vendors how to avoid selling to minors. "Yes, its costing them more money, but we're going to provide a program for them that's going to save them money, because they're not going to be caught in stings."