This past summer the Northwoods Tobacco-Free Coalition (NWTFC) conducted tobacco compliance checks throughout Lincoln County. A total of 30 random checks were completed for any retailer in the county that had a tobacco license; three of these establishments sold tobacco to a minor. The current illegal sale rate of 10% is down from last year’s illegal sale rate of 13.8%. Although this is an improvement from the previous year, it is unfortunate that several convenience store sales clerks did not properly check purchaser’s IDs and sold to minors.
In November, after the compliance checks were completed, the NWTFC decided to do more to help clerks and to lower the number of illegal sales. Education cards titled “Different Designs, Same Deal” were sent to all 49 retailers in Lincoln County who sell tobacco products. The education cards are colored and easy to read. They show a regular driver license and a probationary driver license with easy 1-2-3 steps and a picture to where on the card to look for the date the purchaser turns legal age.
“I believe this effort is worth it,” says Judy Sargent, R.N., Public Health Nurse for Lincoln County Health Department. “The illegal sale of tobacco to minors can continue to remain low if the retailers, youth and community members keep working together.”
Wisconsin WINS and the Lincoln County Health Department encourage all clerks selling tobacco to consistently card anyone who looks under the age of 27 and to refuse the sale of tobacco products without proper verification of age. If you would like more information on how to properly train employees to read IDs and how to avoid potential fines visit www.smokecheck.org. This site offers a free, online training program for tobacco retailers and their employees; it even helps clerks identify a quick and easy way to properly read identifications.
By refusing tobacco sales to minors we can help improve the health of our youth and improve our community’s future. For additional information on the WI WINS program contact Judy Sargent, R.N., Public Health Nurse for the Lincoln County Health Department at 715-539-1377, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.