Sales Of Tobacco To Minors Up, But Still Low In D.C.
Sales of tobacco to minors at D.C. stores grew between 2012 and 2013, but the rate is still lower than a target set by the federal government.
According to an annual report mandated by the Synar Amendment, there was an 8.6 percent violation rate among D.C. retailers licensed by the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. That number was 6.5 percent in 2012, 14.7 percent in 2011 and 12.5 percent in 2010, according to reports compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health
D.C.'s retailer violation rate is determined by about 300 random, unannounced inspections conducted throughout the year by the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health and Metropolitan Police Department. The target rate for D.C. is 20 percent, and the rate reached a peak in 2004 at 41.9 percent. Nationwide, the rate was 9.6 percent last year.
Phyllis Jones, chief of staff for the D.C. DBH, said they're not exactly clear on why the rate ticked up, but nationally there's also been an increase. Jones said, while some states have scaled back enforcement, D.C. hasn't.
D.C. may consider a more aggressive campaign to the more than 900 licensed merchants "to see if we can get the number down again." This could include an increase in mailings of informational materials.
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