Enforcement of teen tobacco-sale laws working

Efforts to prevent underage teens from buying tobacco -- including sting operations -- seem to be working.

Attorney General Brian Sandoval said underage buyers used in the stings were successful only 11.4 percent of the time this year. That compares to 18 percent last year.

Both those numbers are far below the 1994 numbers when the youthful decoy used by agents was successful in purchasing tobacco products 64 percent of the time.

"Nevadans, retailers, law enforcement and the public health community have worked together to reduce purchases by underage youth," Sandoval said.

He said Wal-Mart has now joined the campaign, agreeing with attorneys general in 42 states including Nevada to implement policies designed to reduce tobacco sales to minors in its 3,400 stores. That means training employees and requiring identification for everyone purchasing tobacco who appears to be under the age of 27.

Similar agreements have been made with Walgreens, Exxon Mobil and ARCO among other major chains.

The focus is on stopping teen smokers because studies by the federal health department show more than 80 percent of adult smokers took up the habit before turning 18.

Nevada law prohibits selling tobacco products to anyone under 18.


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