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Newsroom Kansas successful in reducing youth access to tobacco

Topeka – SRS Secretary Don Jordan announced today that Kansas compliance with federal requirements regarding the sale of tobacco to minors continues to improve.

The federal Synar Amendment requires states to maintain a compliance rate of 80% or better.  The Kansas compliance rate, at 87.1%, has improved 7% from last year’s rate.

The Kansas Department of Revenue-Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) works with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) to conduct random, unannounced inspections of tobacco retailers.  Annually, retail outlets across the state are checked to determine the state’s compliance rate.  Of those inspected last year, 87.1% did not sell tobacco products to minors.

A statewide campaign, “It’s Everybody’s Business,” provides resource materials to train clerks regarding the law and their responsibility to check identification and refuse sale of tobacco to minors.  In addition, the Department of Revenue has established a Cigarette and Tobacco Enforcement team to provide education and compliance visits to retailers to assist them in meeting requirements of the law.

Coalitions and organizations have worked together in a concentrated effort to improve compliance since 2004 when the state fell below the targeted rate.  SRS, Kansas Regional Prevention Centers, ABC, The Kansas Department of Health and Environment/Tobacco Use Prevention Program, Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition, and Kansas Family Partnership have all been a part of the state’s success.  

“The results of these efforts thus far are impressive,” said Jordan.  “We will continue working together to ensure we remain successful in preventing the sale of tobacco to minors.”

Tobacco users typically start smoking in early adolescence.  Nearly all first time use occurs prior to high school graduation.  Cigarette smoking is reported by 20.6% of high school students.  Currently, 25.2% of high school students report using at least one form of tobacco, according to the Kansas Youth Tobacco Survey.

Retailers can access information and resources by calling 785-266-6161 or toll free 800-206-7231.  For help to quit smoking, call the Kansas Tobacco Quit Line at 1-866-KAN-STOP (1-866-526-7867).