The percentage of businesses that sold tobacco to minors during the latest compliance check was 9.9 percent, a decrease from the 2015 cumulative non-compliance rate of 13 percent. Thirteen minors were able to buy tobacco out of 131 attempts in the checks conducted from February through April. The compliance checks are conducted by the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) using youth volunteers.
"While we are pleased to begin the year with lower levels of tobacco sales to minors, LPD and the Health Department are committed to further reducing youth access to tobacco products," says LPD captain, Joy Citta.
The Lancaster County Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows that youth who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days decreased from 13.3 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent in 2015. The survey is conducted every other year in area high schools. "Preventing kids from being able to buy tobacco will help keep the momentum going on this downward trend of youth smoking," said Brian Baker, LLCHD Public Health Educator.
LLCHD and LPD are among 20 participants on the Tobacco Free Lancaster County community coalition. The group is focused on keeping youth from starting to use tobacco, reducing access to tobacco products and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke. The program is funded by the Tobacco Free Nebraska Program of the State Department of Health and Human Services as a result of the tobacco master settlement agreement.
A list of the locations that sold tobacco to a minor follows this release. More information on LLCHD's tobacco education and prevention efforts is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hpo).