Tobacco compliance checks are designed to tackle illegal sales of tobacco to minors and decrease youth tobacco use.
Checks will continue in 2014. They offer the opportunity for the community to join in the fight to protect youth from one of the most readily available and harmful substances available, officials say. Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death.
The checks are part of the WI Wins program, administered by the South Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition. Retailers must do a good job in checking identification of buyers and ensuring that clerks do not sell to minors.
The community needs to be aware of the risk of new, addictive tobacco products, such as Snus, little cigars and tobacco wraps, officials say. Many of these new products are discreet, flavorful and less expensive than traditional products. These products are being pushed by the tobacco industry and targeted to teens, and it is very important they stay out of the hands of minors, the coalition says.
“Our partnership with both law enforcement and tobacco retailers... has been very positive. We hope for zero sales to minors in 2014,” said Jennifer Froh of WI Wins and the South Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition. “Every day, approximately 3,500 kids will try tobacco for the first time. Another 1,000 kids will become addicted. Treating tobacco-related diseases results in $96 billion in healthcare costs annually in the United States."
Tobacco retail clerks can be easily trained to check IDs by visiting www.smokecheck.org for more information. Retailers and clerks may use the site to learn about tobacco-compliance laws, complete state-required training, and receive customized certificates they can print out and pass on to employers.
This website teaches skills to ensure tobacco products are kept out of the hands of minors. When youth do not have easy access to tobacco they are less likely to choose to use these products, coalition members say.
Call 608-847-9373 with questions about WI Wins or the South Central Wisconsin Tobacco Free Coalition, which serves Adams, Juneau, Richland and Sauk counties.