LAS VEGAS - Fewer high school students bought cigarettes at Nevada stores in 2003, according to a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Nevada Department of Education.
Roughly 7 percent of minors who smoke were able to purchase cigarettes in stores during a 30-day period across the state, compared with 12 percent in 2001.
The study also found that 8.8 percent of students said they smoked 20 or more days out of 30, compared with 11.3 percent in 2001 and 14 percent in 1993.
"It's a small percentage of children who try to buy tobacco and are able to," John Albrecht, senior deputy attorney general, said Friday.
The state conducted the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in spring 2003 in cooperation with the CDC. The 101-question anonymous survey was given to 1,982 students across the state. The survey is done every other year.
Participants from 82 high schools were asked about their experiences with sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, nutrition and mental health.
The attorney general's office enforces the state law that prohibits tobacco sales to minors. Officials with the office said the study shows the progress of statewide efforts to keep minors from buying cigarettes.
The office sends minors out to the state's 2,000 tobacco distributors to try to buy cigarettes, Albrecht said.
In 2003, minors conducted 5,054 purchase attempts and 779 or 15 percent were successful. The state issued 656 citations and 123 warnings.
Violators usually are not fined, but required to attend training programs, Albrecht said.
"There are 470 stores in this state that have never made an illegal sale since January '01," Albrecht said. "There are a lot of stores that are doing the right thing over and over."