Tobacco Sales To Minors At Highest Level In The Last Decade - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Tobacco Sales To Minors At Highest Level In The Last Decade

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The number of Washington retailers illegally selling tobacco to minors has risen to its highest level in more than a decade. An annual report that tracks illegal sales shows about 16 percent of tobacco retailers in our state sold tobacco to minors from January to June of this year — up from 11 percent in 2011 and 10 percent in 2010.

"This is unacceptable. Our young people should not have access to these deadly tobacco products," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. "Most adult smokers start as teens, so if we can keep tobacco out of the hands of kids, it's likely they'll never take up this dangerous habit."

The Department of Health works with state and local agencies to train tobacco retailers so they know and understand their obligations under the law and the penalties for violating it. The high level of employee turnover in stores that sell tobacco makes retailer education crucial. With limited budgets over the last few years, local communities were unable to expand retailer education or dedicate resources to youth prevention. Meanwhile, the tobacco industry continues to invest huge amounts of money to attract new smokers. In 2010, the industry spent about $80 million on marketing activities in Washington alone.

The current youth smoking rate in Washington is about 13 percent. It's dropped by about half since 2000. Unfortunately the rate of decline has leveled off in recent years, and the use of alternative tobacco products like chew, cigars, and hookahs is a growing concern.

The rate of stores selling tobacco to minors is monitored in the annual Synar Report. The report is the result of federal legislation that requires states to enact and enforce laws that prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors, and to conduct annual random, unannounced inspections of retailers. The report is compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Compliance checks are conducted by local health agencies and the state Liquor Control Board. Working with local law enforcement, teens try to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products at randomly selected retailers. Clerks who sell tobacco to minors can be fined up to $100 and retail owners can be fined up to $1,500. Licenses to sell tobacco are permanently revoked after multiple violations.

If the rate of retailers selling tobacco to minors exceeds 20 percent, Washington could lose nearly $14 million dollars in federal funding for drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention and treatment. While official youth checks determine the rate of illegal sales, anyone can report a violation on the state Liquor Control Board's website.

Washington has made significant headway in lowering smoking rates, but there's still work to do. Statewide there are about 70,000 youth who still smoke cigarettes. About 50 young people start smoking each day and about 7,900 people die every year in Washington from tobacco-related diseases. Making sure stores don't sell tobacco to children helps kids remain free from addiction, disease, and death caused by smoking.

The Department of Health website (www.doh.wa.gov) is your source for a healthy dose of information. Also, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    Thursday, May 25 2017 8:04 PM EDT2017-05-26 00:04:42 GMT
    2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway2 bodies found in pickup truck near Washington highway

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>

    WENATCHEE, Wash. (AP) - The bodies of a man and woman have been found in a pickup truck near a Washington highway. KCPQ-TV reported Wednesday that the Chelan County Sheriff's Office says it appears someone had been trying to conceal the vehicle. The deputy who went to the call had said someone attempted to conceal the truck with a blanket, duct tape and natural vegetation from the area. The bodies had been in the driver's seat and front passe...

    >>
  • Woman's warning after she says a stranger followed her home

    Woman's warning after she says a stranger followed her home

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:04 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:04:30 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane woman wants to warn people to be careful when they’re out by themselves after she says she had a run-in with a strange man. “He made the hairs on my neck stand up. He gave me a weird feeling,” she says. She didn’t want to be identified because she’s still afraid. She was out walking her dog near 55th and Freya when a man suddenly appeared very close to her “I looked up and he was right there,” she 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - One Spokane woman wants to warn people to be careful when they’re out by themselves after she says she had a run-in with a strange man. “He made the hairs on my neck stand up. He gave me a weird feeling,” she says. She didn’t want to be identified because she’s still afraid. She was out walking her dog near 55th and Freya when a man suddenly appeared very close to her “I looked up and he was right there,” she 

    >>
  • Young inventor from Post Falls appears on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

    Young inventor from Post Falls appears on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

    Thursday, May 25 2017 9:16 PM EDT2017-05-26 01:16:56 GMT
    Courtesy Ellen TVCourtesy Ellen TV

    POST FALLS, Idaho - A young inventor by the name of Alex Knoll made his big debut on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday. 12-year-old Alex is from Post Falls, Idaho and is the creator of an award-winning app. He developed Ability App to help improve the lives of those with disabilities by giving them resources to make informed decisions. On the talk show, Alex shared with Ellen stories of his hero and background on the app. Alex is 

    >>

    POST FALLS, Idaho - A young inventor by the name of Alex Knoll made his big debut on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Thursday. 12-year-old Alex is from Post Falls, Idaho and is the creator of an award-winning app. He developed Ability App to help improve the lives of those with disabilities by giving them resources to make informed decisions. On the talk show, Alex shared with Ellen stories of his hero and background on the app. Alex is 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/