Friday, 12 July 2024

Tobacco sales to area youth drop to all-time low

LAKE COUNTY A recently released report shows that tobacco sales to area youth are showing a promising reduction.

The Lake County Tobacco Program, a program of Lake Family Resource Center (Lake FRC), released the results of the May 2007 Youth Purchase Survey on Wednesday.

The May report shows that sales have dropped to an all-time low of 8.4 percent, with five stores countywide selling tobacco products to teens under the age of 18.

In May 2005 the rate of sales of tobacco product sales to minors was 43 percent more than five times the most recent sales figures.

Local communities with 100-percent compliance – meaning no sales to youth – in the May 2007 survey included Clearlake Oaks, Cobb, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Lucerne, Middletown and Nice.

Stores in three communities sold tobacco products to youth: Lakeport, Clearlake and Upper Lake. The highest concentration of sales was in Upper Lake, where 50 percent of retailers sold tobacco products to minors. In Clearlake, 15 percent of stores sold to minors, and in Lakeport the total was 8 percent of stores selling to minors.

With a member of the Adult Tobacco Coalition, youth coalition members enter selected stores. While in the store, the teens survey tobacco product signage and product placement to assure that the store is in compliance with current California law.

One youth approaches the check stand to attempt a purchase while the other observes. If a sale is made, the two teens leave the store and give the cigarettes to the adult advisor. An immediate evaluation is done of the sale/non-sale that includes whether ID was requested, whether a sale was made, and the age and gender of the sales clerk.

Stores are then notified of the results, including the time and date of the sale, with information regarding the clerk training provided through Lake FRC.

Tobacco program coordinator Michael Rupe said the program works hard to develop educational materials for tobacco retailers, which include free training and fact sheets for owners and employees that teach current laws, required signage, identification verification and other resources.

“The drop in sales is dramatic and shows that we cannot slow down in our education efforts to stop cigarette and other tobacco sales to Lake County youth,” Rupe said. “Not only is it illegal to make the sales, those stores still selling tobacco to youth are putting the health of our community at risk.”

Lake FRC Executive Director Gloria Flaherty said store owners and managers have been receptive to the training, scheduling trainings whenever new staff are hired and to reinforce the information for current employees.

“The mission of Lake FRC is 'Strengthening Families,'” said Flaherty. “Educating retailers and families about the risks of tobacco on teens and children is one way we can accomplish that goal.”

The Tobacco Control Program is funded through a state grant to the County of Lake Health Department, who subcontracts operation of the program to Lake FRC.

For more information about the Lake Family Resource Center Tobacco Control Program, or to schedule a presentation, call Michael Rupe, 262-1611.


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