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The Stop Tobacco Access for Minors Project (STAMP) successfully advocated for and facilitated the enactment and implementation of comprehensive youth access ordinance regulations in 26 local jurisdictions [2] in five counties in Northern California. The counties are Marin, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. They comprise the North Bay and some of the North Coast areas of California.

STAMP worked closely with local elected officials and their staff in these cities and unincorporated areas to enact and implement local youth tobacco access measures which regulate the manner of sale of tobacco products, primarily by prohibiting self-service merchandising (display and sale) of tobacco products and point-of-sale tobacco promotional products and requiring only vendor-assisted sales of tobacco products and point-of-sale tobacco promotional products in retail stores.

STAMP also worked closely with county public health departments and community tobacco control coalitions in ensuring passage of these local tobacco policy initiatives, which in most cases also included strong no smoking regulations for workplaces, restaurants and public places.

The specific youth tobacco access regulations in these ordinances are:

1) prohibition on self-service sales and displays of tobacco products and tobacco-related promotional items in retail stores;

2) requirement that tobacco products and tobacco-related promotional items in retail stores only be sold through clerk-assisted sales;

3) requirement to post a specifically-worded warning sign at each cash register/checkout stand in retail stores stating the sale of tobacco products to persons under the age of eighteen is prohibited by state law and that photo identification is required to purchase tobacco products;

4) requirement of store clerks and cashiers to request and check the identification of all young tobacco purchasers; and

5) eliminate cigarette vending machines.

While these regulations were under consideration by local elected officials in these 26 jurisdictions, there was literally no merchant or other opposition to the youth access regulations, except in Santa Rosa, San Rafael and Sebastopol. City council members in those cities rejected merchant opposition claims and voted unanimously to enact the regulations. Without exception, every local elected official in all 26 jurisdictions supported the youth access regulations.

There was virtually no local media coverage on the passage and enactment of these youth access regulations in any jurisdiction except for short newspaper articles and TV news stories about the Santa Rosa and Sebastopol regulations. Media coverage focused on the no smoking regulations, with a few of these local newspaper and TV news stories briefly mentioning the cigarette machine bans.

Before the youth access regulations went into effect in each jurisdiction, STAMP provided each retail outlet that sells tobacco with a brochure explaining the regulations and how to comply with them, along with laminated copies of the required warning signs. The brochure also stated the state law prohibiting tobacco sales to minors and the sale of single cigarettes, as well as that STAMP would be conducting underage tobacco buying surveys and compliance checks on the ordinance regulations.

Vending machine companies were notified by letter about the cigarette machine ban.

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