FREDERICK, M.d. (WDVM) — To stop teens from smoking, the Frederick County Health Department’s continue their compliance checks with business in the community.

The Frederick County Health Department’s (FCHD) Merchant Sales Compliance Initiative aims to reduce youth access to alcohol and tobacco products by conducting random merchant compliance checks of businesses located in Frederick County.

“These compliance checks are just route conducted routinely, and they’re funded through the Maryland Department of Health just to ensure that all tobacco retailers comply with tobacco sales law,” Laura LaMotte of the Frederick County Health Department explained. “Then also in addition to compliance checks, every merchant is providing education and training materials to prevent the sales of tobacco products to individuals under 21.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 90 percent of adult smokers began smoking before 18. That’s why compliance checks like these effectively reduce access to these products.

“So because of this nicotine addiction, about three out of 14 smokers end up smoking into adulthood, even if they intended to quit after a few years,” LaMotte explained. “So the Frederick County Health Department wants to provide tobacco prevention efforts to delay the initiation of tobacco use and reduce individuals from developing an addiction to nicotine.”

So far, 49 businesses have been checked, and out of those, 49, 37 have passed, and 12 were found in violation. For more information about merchant sales compliance checks, visit www.health.frederickcountymd.gov.