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Heuvelton Leo Club seeks to restrict tobacco sales in the village

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HEUVELTON — The Heuvelton Leo Club is teaming up with St. Lawrence County Reality Check in an attempt to limit the sale and advertising of tobacco products in the village.

Students and parents met with Leo Club adviser Nancy J. Lafaver and Reality Check coordinator Melanie E. Flack on Thursday evening to discuss their plans. The group will meet May 8 with the village Board of Trustees.

The Leo Club hopes to prevent additional businesses from selling tobacco products, said club member Eliza Jane Hamilton. “I’d like it to be none at all,” she said.

The group also is considering attempting to ban tobacco displays that can be easily viewed by minors.

Stewart’s Shop is the only business in the village that sells tobacco products.

“We don’t want our kids in the future to smoke,” said Leo Club member Kristin Harper.

The group is building up local support.

Linda M. Downing, co-owner of P&J Video & More in downtown Heuvelton, said she supports the initiative.

“The harder it is (for people to get tobacco products), the more of an incentive it is to quit,” she said. “I have grandchildren. I don’t want them smoking.”

Mrs. Downing said she doesn’t see any reason, from a business point of view, to sell tobacco.

“It adds a layer of responsibility,” she said, pointing out the licensing process, taxes, paperwork and identification work required to sell tobacco products.

Just as she decided not to sell alcohol, Mrs. Downing said, she has no desire to sell tobacco.

Ms. Flack said neither Reality Check nor the Leo Club wants to scare future businesses away, but they want to ensure new growth is responsible growth.

Mayor Barbara A. Lashua said, “This is something the (village board) is really beginning to look into. We’ve made no decisions.”

She said trustees heard from the Leo Club about the issue in recent months and have been working on determining the best course of action.

“It’s all so very, very preliminary,” the mayor said.

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