Reducing the illegal sale of cigarettes to minors

JAMA. 1989 Jan 6;261(1):80-3.


This study reports on an effort to stop the illegal sale of cigarettes to minors. In Santa Clara County, Calif, 412 stores and 30 vending machines were visited by 18 minors aged 14 through 16 years with the intent to purchase cigarettes; they were successful at 74% of the stores and 100% of the vending machines. After an aggressive six-month campaign using communitywide media, direct merchant education, contact with the chief executive officers of chain stores and franchise operations owned by major companies, and grassroots work with community organizations, the percentage of stores with illegal over-the-counter sale of cigarettes to minors was reduced to 39%. Sales from vending machines were not reduced. While much remains to be accomplished in stopping the illegal sale of tobacco to minors, data from this study illustrate that a well-designed community and merchant education campaign can significantly reduce such sales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Age Factors
  • California
  • Commerce
  • Female
  • Health Education / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Prevention*