The Big Story Blog

Fewer teens getting smokes from the convenience store

Posted at 10:25 AM on December 6, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Health

Every teen movie seems to feature a scene where an underage kid persuades a clueless convenience store clerk to sell him some smokes.

In real life, though, those scenes are becoming rare.

Minnesota Health Department surveys show the percentage of high school teens saying they got cigarettes though a direct store purchase fell form 16 percent in 2000 to just under 10 percent this year -- a significant drop.

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Health officials say the trend in their surveys can be seen, too, in data from compliance checks of retail outlets.

A statewide program of random undercover compliance checks found that underage teens were able to buy tobacco products in 4.1 percent of stores tested in 2010. This is down from 19.2 percent of stores tested in 2000.

Greater enforcement of laws prohibiting sales to minors and stronger education programs for retail stores are often cited as reasons for this success.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.