Local Tobacco Use Reduction Ordinance Passed in Albuquerque
On October 5th, the Albuquerque City Council passed a local ordinance to help reduce the illegal sale of tobacco products to kids. This ordinance is considered a significant step in the battle to protect America's youth from tobacco abuse. Speakers pointed out that tobacco is a "gateway" substance that leads to further illegal drug abuse and self-destructive behavior. The "easy access" to tobacco products is considered an invitation to youngsters to try products or shoplift individual tobacco items.
Councilwoman Adams had initially been unsupportive of the measure. She felt parents, not government, should be responsible for controlling youth access to tobacco. She stated that overwhelming support for the measure was a compelling factor helping her to reconsider.
For detailed ordinance information including ordinance literature in PDF format, click here.
MASCOT Endorses Ordinance to Stop Illegal Sales of Tobacco to Kids
Albuquerque - Multicultural Advocates for Social Change on Tobacco, Albuquerque's tobacco prevention coalition, announced their endorsement of Councilman Bregman's proposed ordinance to stop illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. The ordinance requires that retailers display tobacco products in such a way that they are not accessible to the public without clerk assistance.
In New Mexico it is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. Recent evaluations of retailer compliance with this law have shown that on average 27% of the time kids in Albuquerque have no problem purchasing tobacco. Requiring direct interaction with a clerk to purchase tobacco increases the likelihood that the clerk will ask for identification. Children will be less likely to attempt to purchase tobacco if they must request the product from a clerk. Self-service displays also invite shoplifting. Placing tobacco products behind the counter and requiring direct clerk assistance reduces theft.
"Despite what the opposition would have us believe, implementing this ordinance is simple. It is a responsible way for retailers to assure the community that tobacco products will not be readily available to our children." stated Lila Mauro, American Cancer Society. "We know that 1/3 of teens in Albuquerque are regular smokers. Retailers who sell tobacco products to kids are part of the problem."
Simon Lopez, Youth Development, Inc., conducted compliance checks in Albuquerque. "We must act to stop childhood addiction to tobacco. Curbing the ability of youth to acquire tobacco products on their own is a big step in the right direction." Across the country over 188 communities have passed similar measures including Tucson, Denver and Austin. [fact sheet]


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