2012 Media Releases

February 15, 2012
For More Information Contact:
Brian Baker, 402-441-8046
Captain Joy Citta, 402-441-7239, Lincoln Police Department

Disappointing Compliance Rate for 2011

In 2011, the Lincoln Police Department, the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, and volunteer youth made 370 attempts to purchase tobacco products (some businesses were checked more than once). Fifty-three of these attempts by minors resulted in a business making a tobacco sale resulting in a 14% sale rate. The following five locations had more than one sale of tobacco to a minor during 2011: Casey's, 2500 NW 12th Street; C-Station, 1120 S. Coddington; Discount Depot, 3301 O Street; Letty's Misc, 1301 S. 11th Street; and Russ's Market, 4400 S. 33rd Street. In 2010, the sale rate was only 9%. National research indicates when communities consistently conduct compliance checks and keep the sale rate below 10%, children in those communities are less likely to use tobacco products.

A tobacco compliance check is one strategy as part of a multi-strategy comprehensive plan to keep youth from starting to use tobacco products. The number of Lancaster County youth using tobacco products continues a downward trend. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, youth who smoked cigarettes in the last 30 days decreased from 17.6% in 2009, to 16.4% in 2011. Even though youth tobacco use is on a downward trend, the goal is that all youth avoid tobacco use.

To support all tobacco retailers and help employees avoid selling tobacco to minors, a free Tobacco Retailer ID Training is offered on a quarterly basis. The training provides information about State and local tobacco laws, Nebraska State IDs, how to refuse a tobacco sale, and why compliance checks are conducted. Many people who have been ticketed for selling tobacco to a minor attend the class to help them prevent future sales. Retailers may also require all new hires and existing employees to attend to ensure the law is followed.

If you are concerned about youth smoking and would like to provide input and/or help in other local tobacco prevention efforts, please call 402-441-6225.

Youth Volunteers Needed

Youth who participate can meet volunteer hour requirements for high school graduation and other social or church organizations. Some are looking at careers in law enforcement, and this activity can become part of their resume. For each compliance check in which a youth participates, he/she will generally receive a credit of four (4) volunteer hours. Youth between the ages of 14-17 who are interested in this community service project may call 402-441-6224 for more information.

Tobacco Free Lancaster County is a joint effort that focuses on keeping youth from starting to use tobacco, reducing access to tobacco products, and eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke. It is funded by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services/Tobacco Free Nebraska Program as a result of the tobacco master settlement agreement.