illegal tobacco sales to minors and minor's access to tobacco
through social sources is the ultimate goal of operating a local
STEP program. By applying the elements of Texas STEP's model
enforcement protocol you can work to ensure that your local efforts
are reaching all the essential community members to make your
education & prevention is essential for our children's health,
and legal compliance education and strict enforcement of our local
and state tobacco control laws sends a message to the public that
community leaders take this issue seriously and believe these
policies are important.
Texas STEP, this effort involves a multi-pronged approach: providing
compliance education to retailers and school-aged youth, testing for
compliance and enforcing laws on retail sales of tobacco products to
minors, and citing minors who are in possession of tobacco in order
to get them referred to a tobacco awareness class.
to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, numerous studies
have shown that a combination of educating retailers and active,
graduated enforcement of tobacco access laws is most effective in
reducing illegal sales to minors.
Education of Tobacco Retailers
comprehensive merchant education, including information on health
effects, before enforcement activity begins helps build support
among retailers for enforcing sales restrictions and can deter
retailers have been educated on how to comply with tobacco access
law, compliance inspections are necessary. Compliance inspections
reinforce the importance of compliance. They can also be an
opportunity for retailers to get on-site assistance if they are not
retailers have been educated on compliance with the tobacco laws and
they have received on-site assistance, the next step is to test for
compliance. Conducting controlled buys using a minor decoy will
identify retailers who refuse to obey the law and continue to sell
cigarettes and/or tobacco products to minors.
up on Violators and Non-Violators
up on violators will emphasize the importance and impact of
compliance through fines and penalties. Following up on
non-violators will establish and keep good rapport with the
retailers and will promote voluntary compliance.
Education of School-Aged Youth
comprehensive compliance education, knowledge of the laws regarding
possession of tobacco by minors, and the consequences of violating
those laws is critical to conveying the importance of youth not to
use tobacco. This education should include information on health
effects of tobacco along with prevention strategies to minorsí
of Minor in Possession (MIP)
and enforcing retailer compliance with tobacco laws may keep youth
from purchasing tobacco products. However, young people will turn to
social sources (e.g. older friends, school mates, and family
members) of tobacco products as commercial sources are reduced.
Assessing the fines and penalties associated with a Minor in
Possession of Tobacco infraction may deter youth from smoking in the
future, and allows those children cited to be directed to a tobacco
awareness class that can help break the child's tobacco addiction.