Objective: The current study explored the practicality of preventing underage retail cigarette sales and the relationship to cigarette supplies among adolescents.
Method: In Fort Morgan, Colorado, an isolated rural community with below-average socioeconomic status and a large Latino population, supervised teenaged employees repeatedly attempted to buy cigarettes from every store over a 9-month period in 2005. Repeated violations were penalized. Cigarette acquisition and exchange among community adolescents were assessed before and after intervention using a high school student survey.
Results: The measured violation rate declined from 47% in the first week to 3.4% during the final three months, and high school student reliance on retail cigarette purchases declined. Adolescent cigarette supplies declined by approximately 15%.
Conclusion: Isolated rural communities can reduce adolescent cigarette supplies by conducting consistent enforcement against retail cigarette sales to minors. Previous research suggests that reducing these sales may help reduce adolescent smoking. The current study demonstrates that enforcement is practical and effective.