Youth Tobacco Sales in WA Remain High for Second Consecutive Year
More minors in the state of Washington are getting their hands on tobacco.
NBCRightNow.com - More minors in the state of Washington are getting their hands on tobacco.
The Washington state Department of Health says the alarming new numbers have been climbing in recent years. The annual Synar Report shows about 15 percent of tobacco retailers sold tobacco to minors in 2013. That number is about the same as in 2012, but up from 9 percent in 2009.
"It's unacceptable that more than one in seven retailers in our state illegally sells tobacco to minors," said Secretary of Health John Wiesman. "Stopping youth from buying tobacco is one of the best prevention tools we have. It only works when retailers follow the law. They must do better. The health of Washington's youth is at stake."
Local health agencies and the state Liquor Control Board conduct compliance checks throughout the year. Underage teens work with local law enforcement to try and buy cigarettes and other tobacco products at randomly selected retailers. Clerks who sell to minors can be fined up to $100 while retail owners can be fined up to $1,500 and have their license revoked up to five years.
The state Department of Health says if the rate exceeds 20 percent, Washington could lose $13.5 million dollars in federal funding for drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention and treatment.
Thursday, August 21 2014 5:17 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:17:08 GMT
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