Illegal Tobacco Sales To Minors Drastically Reduced in Long Beach

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Illegal Tobacco Sales To Minors Drastically Reduced in Long BeachIllegal tobacco sales to minors in Long Beach have decreased by 79% since 2004, according to the new data from the City of Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (Health Department).

In 2004, the illegal sales rate to minors in Long Beach was 36.1 percent, compared to the statewide rate of 14 percent. In 2011, youths who attempted to purchase tobacco illegally were successful only 7.7 percent of the time.

“The importance of keeping tobacco products away from the youth in our community cannot be overstated, especially since tobacco use so often leads to disease and death,” Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal said.

The reduction in the illegal tobacco sales rates in Long Beach can be attributed to several factors. In 2008, the Health Department implemented the Tobacco Retail Program (TRP), requiring all retailers who sell tobacco products to obtain a permit and follow specific requirements. Inspections are conducted by Environmental Health Inspectors to educate the retailers on the State law and the health risks of tobacco exposure to youth. As a component of the program, the Health Department works with the Police Department to conduct an annual Youth Purchase Survey, which can lead to sting operations on retailers suspected of selling tobacco products to minors in Long Beach.

Recent data from the state indicates that tobacco use continues to decline in adult populations as well. According to the California Department of Public Health, tobacco use among adults has decreased statewide over the years to a rate of 11.9 percent. California now has the second lowest rate of adult smokers in the nation and is one of only two states to reach the federal Healthy People 2020 target of reducing the adult smoking rate to 12 percent.

Smoking remains the No. 1 preventable cause of death and disease, killing more than 400,000 Americans each year. Since 1989, California’s tobacco control efforts have saved an estimated 1 million lives and more than $86 billion in healthcare costs.

For more information about the City’s Tobacco Retail Program call 562.570.7905 or log onto www.longbeach.gov/health/eh/tpermits.asp. Additional information on Tobacco Education and Prevention Programs is available by calling 562.570.7950, visiting www.longbeach.gov/healthand hovering your mouse over “Health Promotions” or visiting www.TobaccoFreeCA.com.

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