Sustained effects of educating retailers to reduce cigarette sales to minors

Public Health Rep. 1995 Sep-Oct;110(5):625-9.


Despite state laws prohibiting the purchase of tobacco by minors, the ease with which underage youth can purchase cigarettes has been documented nationwide. The public health community as well as policy makers have called for a combination of retailer education and enforcement of laws prohibiting tobacco sales to minors. Enforcement activity may not be feasible in many communities, however, and an educational intervention may be the only option. This paper reports results of a 6-month followup assessment following a face-to-face education intervention with retailers to reduce cigarettes sales to minors in San Diego County, CA. A control-experimental group, pre-post design was employed to study the sustained effects of the program on the illegal sale of cigarettes to minors. A total of 236 stores were visited by minors, ages 14-17 years, with the intent of purchasing cigarettes. Information was collected three times: pre-test, immediately following the intervention, and 6 months after the intervention ended. The groups included a no-treatment control group of 108 stores and an intervention group of 128 that received three educational visits from project staff over a 1-year period. Community education via media and informational presentations was also conducted. As previously reported, a 68-percent pretest sales rate was found for stores overall. Immediately following the intervention, 32 percent of the intervention group and 59 percent of the control group sold cigarettes to minors. These results were maintained 6 months following the conclusion of the intervention. Results are discussed in terms of education versus use of enforcement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • California
  • Child Welfare / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Commerce / education*
  • Commerce / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Commerce / statistics & numerical data
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Nicotiana*
  • Plants, Toxic*
  • Program Evaluation