The percentage of businesses that sold tobacco to minors during compliance checks decreased from 12.6 percent in 2013 to 7.9 percent in 2014. The compliance checks are conducted by the Lincoln Police Department and the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) using youth volunteers. Of the 302 attempts by minors to purchase tobacco products, 24 resulted in a sale.
Brian Baker, LLCHD Public Health Educator, said national research indicates that when compliance checks are consistently conducted with a sale rate below 10 percent, children in those communities are less likely to use tobacco products. "According to the Lancaster County Youth Risk Behavior Survey, youth who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days decreased from 16.4 percent in 2011 to 13.3 percent in 2013," said Baker. "While youth tobacco use is on a downward trend, the goal is that all youth avoid tobacco use."
Tobacco Free Lancaster County is a community coalition 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.
The following Lincoln retailers sold tobacco products to minors in 2014:
More information on LLCHD's tobacco education and prevention efforts is available at lincoln.ne.gov (keyword: hpo).