In June of this year, a coalition of several agencies and organizations launched an aggressive new initiative aimed at reducing the sales of tobacco products to minors in Kansas. The public awareness campaign is named It’s Everybody’s Business. In 2006, the campaign expands to include the "Reward and Reminder TM " program.
The new phase is designed to commend clerks and retailers who refuse to sell tobacco products to minors. The research-based outreach program encourages retailers to comply with Kansas' statutes making it illegal to sell any tobacco product to minors. Teams of adults and youth under 18 will visit retail establishments where youth will attempt to purchase tobacco products. Clerks who do not sell will be rewarded for their actions. Those who would sell will receive a reminder that clerks who sell tobacco products to minors face a misdemeanor charge along with a $200 fine.
Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Secretary Gary Daniels says this is an important next step for the program. "Reward and Reminder TM provides a positive re-enforcement message reminding retailers and clerks about the dangerous health consequences and legal consequences of selling tobacco to minors."
The Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association of Kansas also supports the Reward and Reminder TM program calling It a wake up call to tobacco retailers that the state is trying to help prevent sales to minors.
The It’s Everybody’s Business coalition has contracted with the PAXIS Institute to implement the Reward and Reminder TM program in Kansas. The Institute developed a "best practices" model that led to a 40% reduction in cigarette sales to minors in Wyoming and Wisconsin, where similar programs were implemented.
It’s Everybody’s Business will continue to educate Kansas' tobacco retailers on the consequences of selling tobacco products to minors. Free resources are available for retailers to educate their employees about Kansas law regarding tobacco sales to minors. In addition, prevention specialists can conduct onsite-training programs for retail clerks and managers, and various print materials are available to retailers to help deter illegal purchasing attempts.
Coalition members include: the Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services/Addiction and Prevention Services; Kansas Department of Revenue/Alcoholic Beverage Control; Kansas Department of Health and Environment/Tobacco Use Prevention Program; Kansas Regional Prevention Centers; Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition; and Kansas Family Partnership.