Measuring statewide merchant compliance with tobacco minimum age laws: the Massachusetts experience

Am J Public Health. 2001 Jul;91(7):1124-5. doi: 10.2105/ajph.91.7.1124.


Objectives: This study evaluated merchant compliance with laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors in Massachusetts.

Methods: Stratified cluster sampling was used to select outlets from which youths aged 13 to 17 years attempted to purchase tobacco.

Results: Illegal sales were more common when the youth purchasing the tobacco was older, when the clerk was male, and when tobacco was obtained from a self-service display or unlocked vending machine. Failure to request proof of age was the strongest predictor of illegal sales.

Conclusions: Measured compliance rates are strongly influenced by the age of the youths used to purchase tobacco.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Marketing of Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Marketing of Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Massachusetts
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco*