City and County agencies today thanked retailers for helping to reduce the sale of vapor products to minors in Lancaster County from 21.2 percent in 2017 to 5.3 percent in 2018. The annual compliance checks are a cooperative of the Lincoln-Lancaster Health Department (LLCHD), the Lincoln Police Department (LPD) and the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office (LSO) using youth volunteers. State law has long prohibited the sale of tobacco products to those under age 18, and a 2014 law also prohibited the sale of vapor products to minors. Local agencies added vapor compliance checks to their annual tobacco compliance checks in 2017.
"Our local retailers have done a great job in significantly reducing the rate of vapor product sales to those under age 18," said LPD Captain Jason Stille. LSO Sergeant Mike Peschong added, "It's great to see a decrease in vapor sales to minors, however, we know youth get most of their vapor and tobacco products from social sources, and we urge everyone to be diligent in not providing them to youth under the age of 18."
The sale of non-vapor tobacco products to minors increased over the past year, from 5.9 percent in 2017 to 8.7 percent in 2018. The combined rate of vapor product and tobacco product noncompliance among local retailers was 8 percent. Funding for the compliance checks is provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement.
LPD, LSO and LLCHD are among 20 community members of the Tobacco Free Lancaster County Coalition. The coalition's priorities are to keep youth from starting to use tobacco, reduce access to tobacco products, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. For more information on LLCHD's tobacco prevention efforts and youth tobacco use rates, visit lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: tobacco).
Locations with more than one sale of a tobacco or vapor product to a minor during 2018 were the U-Stop Convenience Shops at 2140 "K" Street, 1301 South Street and 946 S. 27th Street.
The following are retail locations with one sale of a tobacco or vapor product to a minor during 2018: