Illegal tobacco sales to minors have fallen to their lowest level on record in California, but it appears parts of Nevada County still have a ways to go. The California Department of Public Health, 2011 Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey found that tobacco sales to minors at retail outlets occurred at a rate of 5.6 percent – the lowest rate in the survey’s 16-year history. In a recent sting operation in Nevada County, no sales to minors were reported in Nevada City, in Grass Valley the rate was 13 percent and in Truckee nearly a third of the retail outlets were selling tobacco to minors. Lynn Skrukrud, the Youth Coordinator for the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County says it’s important to stop sales to minors.
“90% of smokers started smoking before the age of 18 and so I think people are starting to realize how important it is for minors not to be able to get a hold of tobacco.”
Although the illegal sales rate to minors was lower than previous years, there are still store types with high illegal sales rates. Stores that are considered non-traditional tobacco retailers, including donut shops, discount stores, deli/meat markets, gift stores and produce markets, have a higher illegal sale rate of 9-point 8 on average.