FRANKFORT, KY (Jan. 7, 2005) The compliance rate for unauthorized sales of tobacco to minors continues to improve, showing a 14.1 percentage point drop since 1999. This information comes from an annual buying survey conducted by the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (formerly the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control), which works in cooperation with the state Department of Agriculture and the Substance Abuse Prevention Program in the Department for Public Health to ensure regulatory compliance.
The 2004 survey revealed a 5.6 percentage rate for illegal sales of tobacco to Kentucky youth, down from 6.6 percent in 2003. In 2002 the rate was 9.7 percent. Rates for 2001, 2000, and 1999 were 12.3 percent, 13.4 percent, and 19.7 percent, respectively. This indicates that tobacco vendors in Kentucky only sold to minors between 5 and 6 times out of 100 inspections.
“Keeping our young Kentuckians from illegally purchasing and using tobacco products is worthy of the effort everyone involved has obviously been giving, from ABC officers to responsible retailers to local programs,” said Karyn Hascal, deputy director of the state’s Office of Drug Control Policy. “We are all counting on them to keep up the excellent work.”
“A 14.1 percentage point improvement over the past five years demonstrates excellent results for Kentucky’s efforts to reduce the availability of tobacco products to minors,” said Dr. William Hacker, Commissioner of Public Health. “Reducing youth smoking is an integral part of the Governor and First Lady’s vision for a healthier Kentucky, and these positive trends will make a lifelong difference in the lives of thousands of young Kentuckians. This reduction is due in large part to the collaboration and focus of coalitions and agencies inside and outside state government, including the Department for Public Health, the Substance Abuse Prevention Program, the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control and Department of Agriculture, local tobacco control programs in health departments, Regional Prevention Centers, and other local organizations.”
Federal law authorizes the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant and requires states to enact and enforce laws designed to reduce the availability of tobacco products to persons under the age of 18. The states are required to conduct random, unannounced inspections of tobacco vendors to demonstrate compliance with the law. The state must conduct the annual buying survey using a scientific random sample study protocol approved by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention and must demonstrate that its compliance rate does not exceed the target of 20 percent for illegal tobacco sales to minors.
Failure to meet the 20 percent target could result in forfeiture of about $8 million of the more than $20 million block grant. The SAPT Block Grant, administered by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, is the single largest funding stream in Kentucky supporting prevention and treatment.
John Clay, Executive Director of the Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control, expressed his thanks to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Cabinet for having confidence in the ABC officers. “I attribute the outstanding compliance rates to the work of our tobacco and education staff in completing education programs, to retail businesses throughout the commonwealth who do not sell to persons under the age of 18 and to the professional and outstanding job of our enforcement staff and investigative aides in completing the required compliance checks. All of us are making a big difference in curtailing underage tobacco sales,” said Clay.
Statistics from the annual buying survey allow the Substance Abuse Prevention Program to better target prevention efforts and resources.
For more information about this program or substance abuse, contact Dianne Shuntich or Johnnie Woods in the DPH Substance Abuse Prevention Program at 502/564-7996.