5 stores cited in underage tobacco sting

Tribune Staff • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Officers from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Holland Department of Public Safety and the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department accompanied teenage customer decoys to complete 84 checks — which resulted in a 94-percent compliance rate, officials said.

They visited a random selection of tobacco retailers in Holland, Holland Township, Spring Lake Village, Spring Lake Township, Allendale Township and Coopersville to assess compliance with the Youth Tobacco Act. The act forbids stores from selling tobacco products to customers under age 18.

The five establishments that sold tobacco to a minor in the sweep were Admiral Petroleum in Spring Lake, Oasis Party Store and Seaway Party Store in Grand Haven, and GVL Party Store and Walgreens in Allendale.

According to the Ottawa County Health Department, Michigan faces a penalty of losing up to $23 million from the state budget if 20 percent of retailers violate the act during compliance checks.

Local sting operations will continue throughout the year in Ottawa County to decrease the sales of alcohol and tobacco to minors, officials said.

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