MACOT Supports Albuquerque's Ordinance To Reduce Illegal Tobacco Sales to Minors
General Youth & Tobacco Information
  • 3,000 children in the United States begin smoking each day; 1,000 of them will die a premature death from a tobacco-related disease.
  • Approximately 90% of smokers began smoking as teenagers.
  • Approximately one-third of teenagers in New Mexico smoke cigarettes and another 6% use spit tobacco.
  • The average teen smoker starts smoking at age 13 and becomes a daily smoker by age 14.5.
  • Tobacco is a gateway drug and studies have shown that children who are abusing drugs begin by smoking cigarettes. If you want to curb illegal drug use, a good way is to start with tobacco.
  • In Albuquerque, according to compliance checks, minors were able to purchase cigarettes an average of 27% of the time in 1997-1998.
  • Young people underestimate the addictive nature of nicotine. Only 5% of high school students who smoke daily think they definitely will be smoking in five years. Almost 75% of them still smoke 5-6 years later.
Product Placement Specifics
  • Self-service displays invite shoplifting of tobacco products; many teens report shoplifting as a means to obtain tobacco products. Placing tobacco behind the counter reduces the theft element.
  • When a youth must ask for tobacco products, the direct interaction with the clerk increases the likelihood that the clerk will notice their age and ask for identification.
  • Younger or less confident children may be less likely to attempt to purchase tobacco if they must request the product from a clerk.
  • Placing tobacco products out-of-reach reinforces the message that tobacco products are not in the same class as candy or potato chips.


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