RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Sales of tobacco to minors in the U.S. reached an all-time low in 2011 under a federal and state inspection program intended to curb underage tobacco use, according to a report released Thursday.
The violation rate of tobacco sales to underage youth at retailers nationwide has fallen from about 40 percent in 1997 to 8.5 percent in the last fiscal year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. The rate is based on the results of random, unannounced inspections conducted at stores to see whether they'd sell tobacco products to a customer under the age of 18.
In March, the U.S. Surgeon General said more needs to be done to keep young Americans from using tobacco, including new bans and increased taxes on tobacco products. It was the first comprehensive look at youth tobacco use from the surgeon general's office in nearly two decades.
That point was driven home in a separate report Thursday from another federal agency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a large increase in the consumption of cigars and loose tobacco products is offset the decline in cigarette consumption last year. Adult cigarette consumption fell 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, but consumption of other forms of smoked tobacco products increased more than 17 percent in the same period, according to the report, which highlighted disparities in taxes and classifications for tobacco products as part of the reason for the increase.
Almost one in five high school-aged teens smokes, according to that report. The numbers are down from earlier decades, but the rate of decline has slowed. It also said that more than 80 percent of smokers begin by age 18 and 99 percent of adult smokers in the U.S. start by age 26.
"We know that if we can stop kids from smoking before they turn 18, the chance that they will become smokers as adults is actually very low. By reducing retail access, we're reducing one of the ways that kids can get introduced to tobacco and become smokers," said Susan Marsiglia Gray, who oversees the Synar Regulation program.
The program, named for late U.S. Rep. Mike Synar of Oklahoma, is a federal mandate requiring each state to document that the rate of tobacco sales to minors is no more than 20 percent at the risk losing millions in federal funds for alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and treatment services.
In the last fiscal year, 34 states reported a retailer violation rate below 10 percent, according to the Thursday report. It was the sixth time that no state was found to be out of compliance. Nevada reported the lowest rate of 1.1 percent, and Oregon reported the highest rate at 19.3 percent.
However, the report said that children may instead be getting their cigarettes and tobacco products from places other than convenience stores or gas stations. The latest federal data shows that about 14 percent of minors reported buying their own cigarettes in stores in 2009, down from more than 23 percent a decade earlier.
"Reducing retail access is an important part of a comprehensive tobacco control program, but it's only one piece," said Marsiglia Gray, adding that states need to be involved with other tobacco control activities, such as increasing tobacco taxes, enacting smoking bans and conducting anti-smoking campaigns.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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