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Permits will be needed to sell tobacco in Salem

SALEM — Any stores selling tobacco products in the city will be required to secure an annual permit from the city health district for $100 each as part of the Tobacco 21 program taking effect July 15.

The city health district board recently approved the third and final reading on the resolution, which allows the board to require the permits for all tobacco vendors in the city. A public hearing on the matter was held prior to the recent meeting, to accept public comment, but no one attended.

The program will also allow health officials to enforce the rules against selling tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.

That enforcement can include ensuring signs are clearly visible in tobacco establishments that indicate no tobacco products can be sold to anyone under 21. There can also be inspections, both scheduled and unscheduled, and even undercover operations through an attempted purchase by an underage buyer.

City council had already passed legislation to allow the health department to oversee enforcement of the tobacco rules. According to the process map for implementing Tobacco21, any violations will result in written warnings, fines and could ultimately result in permit revocation for repeated violations.

The board also approved the third and final reading on the resolution to establish a $6 fee for processing replacement COVID-19 vaccine cards, which will take effect July 15.

In other business, the board changed some personnel hours, changing Health Commissioner Alanna Stainbrook from an hourly rate of $23.96 per hour for 1,456 hours per year to a salaried position of $1,797.01 and 64 hours per pay period. She had previously been working longer hours due to the pandemic. Sara Houchins will remain at $15 per hour for a maximum 28 hours per week as the accreditation coordinator only, releasing her from duties as deputy registrar. A new deputy registrar will be hired at a rate of $13.65 per hour working 35 hours every two weeks.

Stainbrook reported the department was awarded a $10,000 Healthy Eating Active Learning grant from the Ohio Department of Health, with Houchins serving as the grant writer. She said plans are to clean up the science garden on the side of the KSU City Center as one of the projects.

“We’re really excited about that,” Stainbrook said.

The board reviewed written reports from the various department heads within the department.

The next health board meeting will be 2 p.m. July 27.

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