Cigarette sales to California teens drop to record low

The results of the 2011 Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey released this Sept. 22 showed cigarette sales to minors have reached a new low in California.

For the study, 15- and 16-year-old teens were hired to purchase cigarettes at a random sample of 800 tobacco retailers throughout the state. Only 5.6 percent of stores illegally sold them cigarettes.

This year’s rate is the lowest since 1995, when the survey first began, and it also dropped by approximately 2 percent in the last year. The survey also found that the rate of illegal cigarette sales varied upon the particular type of store. For example, 11.6 percent of delis and meat markets sold cigarettes illegally, compared to just 1.3 percent of liquor stores.

While the study illustrates that fewer stores are selling cigarettes illegally to minors, it doesn’t track how teens could be getting cigarettes through other means — such as receiving them through older friends or stealing them. Some experts say those behaviors could be topics of future studies.

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