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Tobacco Sales to California Minors at All-Time Low

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Illegal tobacco sales to minors in California are at their lowest level since the state first began monitoring 10 years ago, state officials announced.

Results of California's 2005 Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey show that illegal statewide sales of tobacco to minors are at 10.2 percent -- down from 14 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 1995 when the survey was first conducted.

Retailers with the highest illegal sales rates in 2005 were deli/meat markets at 18.5 percent, doughnut shops at 20.6 percent and discount/gift stores at 21.6 percent. Retailers with the lowest rates were pharmacies at 2.4 percent, convenience stores that sell gasoline at 6.5 percent, tobacco-only stores at 7.3 percent and supermarkets at 8.5 percent.

"California's comprehensive tobacco education campaign, as well as local and state tobacco retailer licensing laws, have led to the majority of California retailers upholding the law and not selling tobacco to minors," State Health Director Sandra Shewry said.

The California Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act requires tobacco retailers post a STAKE Act warning sign at each point-of-sale stating that selling tobacco to persons under 18 years of age is illegal and subject to penalties. The act also mandates compliance checks of tobacco retailers and imposes fines on retailers who break the law.

Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that broadens the STAKE Act by prohibiting the sale of tobacco-related products by self-service display.
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