New teen tobacco program - East Valley Tribune: Health

New teen tobacco program

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Posted: Saturday, July 2, 2011 9:00 am

A new contract from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is helping Arizona Department of Health Services employees protect youths from tobacco. The contract allows ADHS to work with retailers to make sure they are following the rules about the sale of tobacco, including making sure the buyer is old enough to buy it.

“It’s just like alcohol. You have to be a certain age to buy tobacco, but some clerks don’t get the message in training or just plain forget to check IDs,” said Will Humble, ADHS director. “Our goal with this contract is for all people who sell tobacco - to not let kids buy it. It’s all about training and emphasizing the importance of checking IDs.”

Since the beginning of this contract, the FDA has sent warning letters to 19 Arizona businesses. ADHS has conducted more than 500 inspections since the contract began in September.

According to ADHS, about 4,000 kids in the United States try their first cigarette each day and an additional 1,000 kids under 18 years of age become new regular, daily smokers. Studies show 19.7 percent of Arizona teens smoke.

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