Laying down the law: reducing illegal tobacco sales to minors in central Harlem

Am J Public Health. 1998 Jun;88(6):936-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.88.6.936.


Objectives: This study compared the impact of educational and enforcement interventions on retailers' sale of tobacco to minors in Central Harlem, New York.

Methods: In a randomized trial with repeated measures, 152 stores were randomly divided into control, education, and enforcement groups.

Results: Overall tobacco sales to 12- and 13-year-old minors at baseline (98%) were among the highest in the nation. At 6-month and 1-year follow-ups, decreases in rates of tobacco sales to minors were modest among education stores and substantial among enforcement stores.

Conclusions: Effective reduction of tobacco sales to minors may require ongoing enforcement measures, including fines for retailers who violate state and local laws.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New York City
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Urban Population*