District II Drug & Alcohol Program to Hold Reward and Reminder Educational Program
Reward and Reminder is an educational program of merchant surveys conducted to remind tobacco merchants and their employees of the state laws regarding the sale of tobacco products to minors. In this program, clerks are either rewarded with the opportunity to participate in a quarterly $100.00 gift certificate drawing or reminded of Montana’s tobacco laws. Surveys are conducted by local agencies as contracted by the HELP Committee in Havre, Montana. As part of their substance abuse prevention efforts, District II Drug and Alcohol Program undertakes this task. Surveys are conducted three times annually; once in winter, spring, and summer.
As per Montana Code Annotated 16-11-309, The Department of Public Health and Human Services shall conduct inspections of persons selling tobacco products to determine compliance (with tobacco laws). These surveys are conducted by a trained adult accompanying a trained minor, ages 15 to 17. The minor attempts to purchase a tobacco product, while the adult witnesses and reports the inspection transaction.
Reward and Reminder checks are different than official State inspections. These are non-punitive surveys, which means that if a clerk is to make an illegal sale of tobacco to a minor, there are no fines, fees, and the tobacco license is not suspended. The clerk receives a reminder card that details the Montana Code on illegal tobacco sales to minors. These surveys serve just as a reminder, before the official state checks take place. During the official state inspections, fines are as follows: first through fourth violations-$25 education fee payable by the clerk, fifth violation-$25 education fee payable by the clerk and $500 fee payable by the owner, sixth violation-$25 education fee payable by the clerk and owner’s tobacco license is suspended for three months, and seventh violation-$25 education fee payable by the clerk and owner’s tobacco license is suspended for one year.
Conducting tobacco compliance checks helps Montana maintain above an 80% compliance rate.
District II Drug and Alcohol Program is happy to report that all establishments in Richland County that were surveyed in the most recent round of inspections successfully passed their Reward and Reminder checks. This is very important in helping reduce youth access to tobacco, and shows the strong commitment by the community to help protect our youth. Join us in congratulating all of these establishments in staying compliant with the law when refusing the sale of tobacco products to underage customers.