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More Retailers Selling Tobacco to Minors
Date:2/5/2009

State increases outreach to educate retailers about the law

OLYMPIA, Wash., Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The number of Washington retailers illegally selling tobacco to minors has tripled since 2006, according to a new report. The annual rate of illegal sales was about 15 percent in 2008. That's up from nine percent in 2007 and five percent in 2006. The state Department of Health (www.doh.wa.gov) is working with other state and local agencies to expand the effort to make sure retailers know what's expected of them -- along with the penalties they face for violating the law.

"This is unacceptable. Our state laws are intended to keep this deadly product out of the hands of our young people," said Secretary of Health Mary Selecky. "We've got to reverse this trend now. We know when tobacco is harder to get, kids are less likely to pick up this deadly habit."

The state health department, local health agencies, and the state Liquor Control Board are increasing outreach to retailers through in-person education and training for all stores in the state that sell tobacco products. The Department of Health and the state Department of Social and Health Services have updated retailer education materials and created new, practical tools to address common barriers to compliance. The materials include pamphlets and posters in multiple languages, listing acceptable forms of identification and where to find age information. Online training for clerks is also being developed. It will show the correct way to read identification and how to refuse sales to underage customers.

Local health agencies and the Liquor Control Board will continue to conduct random checks of tobacco retailers to find stores that violate the law. Working with law enforcement, under-a
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SOURCE Washington State Department of Health
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