Tobacco Vendor Education Program

An Effective Practice


The Suffolk County Vendor Education program was designed to be a resource for all Suffolk County vendors registered to sell tobacco by New York State. The goal of this practice is to decrease illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. This program was mandated as an amendment to the Suffolk County Sanitary Code and went into effect January 1st, 2002. Our contention was that educating vendors about the public health implications of children experimenting with tobacco would lead to a commitment on their part to make every effort to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors. In addition, this made certain that vendors understood the law and were aware of the very strict penalties imposed by New York State for selling tobacco products to children.

Staff in the Enforcement Unit and the Office of Health Education conduct the classes in a county facility. A workbook (printed at the county print shop) overs the lessons in the class and is given to each attendee so that she/he can train other employees. A short test is given to each attendee. When graded, they receive a vendor education certificate which must be displayed in their store. The program is nearly cost-free.

Goal / Mission

The goal of the program is to increase compliance with the public health law that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 19.

Results / Accomplishments

As of September 2013, Suffolk County has approximately 1750 registered vendors. The proportion of vendors in compliance with the law prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors is consistently between 95-96%.

About this Promising Practice

Primary Contact
Lori Benincasa
Suffolk County Department of Health Services
725 Veteran's Memorial Highway
North County Complex, Building C928
Hauppauge, NY 11788
(631) 853-3015
Health / Substance Abuse
Health / Teen & Adolescent Health
Government & Politics / Programs, Policies, & Laws
Suffolk County Department of Health Services
National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO)
Date of publication
Date of implementation
Suffolk County, NY
For more details
Additional Audience
Tobacco Vendors