Usual sources of cigarettes for middle and high school students--Texas, 1998-1999

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Oct 11;51(40):900-1.


Persons often begin smoking when they are minors (aged <18 years), and easy access to cigarettes might contribute to this behavior. Laws and regulations were in place in Texas during 1998-1999 to reduce minors' access to cigarettes by 1) prohibiting the sale and distribution of tobacco products to minors; 2) imposing fines against retailers caught selling cigarettes to minors; 3) prohibiting minors from purchasing, possessing, or using tobacco products; 4) limiting vending machines to adult-only locations; and 5) requiring tobacco retailers to ask for proof of identification from anyone attempting to purchase tobacco who appeared to be aged <27 years. To measure progress in reducing access to cigarettes among middle and high school students in Texas, CDC analyzed self-reported data from the 1998 and 1999 Texas Youth Tobacco Survey (TYTS). This report summarizes the results of that survey, which indicate that during 1998-1999, reported access to cigarettes from stores and vending machines (commercial sources) decreased among middle school students from 13.2% to 5.3% and from 7.6% to 1.7%, respectively, but access from noncommercial and other sources (e.g., stealing cigarettes and "getting them some other way") increased from 8.3% to 12.3% and from 16.6% to 23.3%, respectively. Among high school students, most sources did not change. Educating retailers and actively enforcing laws governing youth access to tobacco as part of a comprehensive tobacco-control approach are required to reduce youth access to cigarettes.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Commerce*
  • Humans
  • Smoking / economics
  • Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Students
  • Texas / epidemiology