Wisconsin tobacco sales to minors rise 35% in 2013

Local health advocates announced that illegal tobacco sales to Wisconsin minors rose substantially for the first time since 2008. The state’s 2013 Synar sales compliance survey, which determines the number of retail outlets that are selling tobacco illegally to minors, shows a non-compliance rate of 7.3% – up from 5.4% in 2012.
“We thank the retailers who don’t sell tobacco products to minors. In Lincoln County, that is a majority. In 2010 and 2011, retailers did not sell to any minors,” said Tammi Boers, Lincoln County Health Department and a coalition member of the Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition.  “However in 2012, there were four sales and in 2013, there was 1 sale to a minor in Lincoln County.”
There is free training available to help educate retailers and their staff through the website smokecheck.org. At smokecheck.org, retail employees learn about tobacco sales law, potential sale situations, and key partnerships to help keep tobacco out of the hands of kids. They then take a short test, and upon passing, can print a certificate of training from the state.
The annual Synar survey randomly selects retail outlets from across the state to determine a reliable estimate of the rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors. Named after the Congressman who sponsored the federal legislation, the Synar legislation requires all states to monitor and reduce the rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors at retail establishments.  
“More than 80% of adults who use tobacco, start using tobacco products before the age of 18,” said Boers. “This is why it’s important to continue these efforts.”
The state’s Wisconsin Wins program provides the framework for reducing tobacco sales to youth. The program is managed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Free training is available for retailers at smokecheck.org. For more on local tobacco prevention efforts, visit Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition at http://nwtfc.org/.

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