Panel tackles ways to halt youth smoking
By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer
Officials given the task of determining how to curb underage smoking in Washington County discussed methods of sanctioning retailers and youths who violate anti-smoking laws.
Representatives from Hagerstown City Police Department, the American Lung Association, Washington County Health Department and other organizations gathered at the health department for the meeting Wednesday.
Lt. John Moulton of Hagerstown City Police told the committee that officers regularly make undercover cigarette buys to find out which retailers are selling to minors.
Moulton said a first-time offender will receive a warning, but if it happens a second time they are fined.
"We don't want to shut anybody down or issue citations. We want this to be a cooperative effort," said Moulton.
In November 1998, the nation's largest tobacco companies agreed to pay $206 billion in restitution to 46 states over 25 years and finance anti-smoking programs in exchange for resolving remaining state health-care claims for smokers.