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We believe these varying degrees of enforcement follow-up actions to
noncompliant retailers are the main factor contributing to the differences
in illegal sales rates among the sixteen cities and the differences in illegal
sales rates from the first, second and third post-ordinance surveys.
STAMP also collected pre- and post-ordinance data in two additional cities
which passed weak youth access ordinances containing no prohibition on self-service
tobacco sales/displays nor requirement of vendor-assisted tobacco sales.
The survey results from these cities are:
|| 1st Post- Ordinance
|| 2nd Post- Ordinance
|| Number of stores|
|| Sales Rate
|| Sales Rate
|| Sales Rate
In addition, Sebastopol originally enacted a weak youth access ordinance
with no self-service or vendor-assisted regulations. Based on three post-ordinance
buying surveys, this original measure had no impact on reducing the rate
of tobacco sales to minors.
Sebastopol then revised its original ordinance to include the self-service/vendor-assisted
regulations, and the rate dropped from 53% to 13%.
It clearly appears from the data from these three cities that the self-service/vendor-assisted
measures are the key regulation in reducing tobacco sales to minors.
Among the cities with the self-service/vendor-assisted regulations, you
will notice that the buying survey data showed increases between the pre-
and post-ordinance sales rates in Petaluma and Vallejo, and essentially
the same pre- and post-rate in Healdsburg. This anomaly needs to be explained.
For several years prior to the enactment of the youth access regulations
in these three cities, local police conducted aggressive enforcement and
active merchant compliance activities in order to get local retailers to
obey the state law prohibiting to tobacco sales to minors. The low pre-ordinance
sales rates in Petaluma, Vallejo and Healdsburg reflect the impact of these
intensive police activities. These activities ended at least a year and
a half prior to the enactment of the youth access regulations.
Although the regulations appear to have kept the sales rates relatively
low in Petaluma, Vallejo and Healdsburg, the police activities prior to
the regulations obviously had a profound impact in reducing tobacco sales
to minors. This finding is supported by the research literature which clearly
shows pro-active law enforcement activities and police sting operations
are the most effective way to reduce tobacco sales to minors. We believe
the self-service/vendor-assisted and other regulations are the second best
strategy of preventing underage tobacco sales.
STAMP's research on the impact of the self-service/vendor-assisted regulations
also showed other interesting findings. STAMP found significantly increased
checking of identification of young tobacco purchasers by retail store clerks
and cashiers. Vendor-assisted tobacco sales requires store clerks and cashiers
to obtain the tobacco product for the purchaser after he/she has asked for
it. This greatly increases the interaction and interchange between the purchaser
and the seller and lengthens the sales transaction time. STAMP believes
this greatly increases the likelihood during this interchange and transaction
that the clerk or cashier will notice the buyer may be underage and therefore
prompting them to check the ID of the buyer. STAMP believes vendor-assisted
tobacco sales promotes more accurate age-estimation assessment of tobacco
purchasers by clerks and cashiers.