Research from the Institute of Medicine as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that reducing tobacco sales to minors is part of a comprehensive approach to prevent tobacco use among children and youth.
Guide to Community Preventive Services Task Force recommends community mobilization around reducing illegal sales to minors when combined with additional interventions (stronger local laws directed at retailers, active enforcement of retailer sales laws, retailer education and reinforcement.
As part of the Teen Smoking Prevention and Cessation Initiative, the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission has provided funding to the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services (NC DHHS) in partnership with the N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement Division to conduct an education and enforcement program to reduce youth access to tobacco products.
The Education and Enforcement Program:
- Targets education and enforcement activities in communities where there is high noncompliance with North Carolina's Youth Access to Tobacco Products Law.
- Works in partnership with the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund's community school grantees to assist them in their efforts to prevent as well as reduce youth use of and access to tobacco products in their local areas.
- Seeks to support more collaborative efforts such as training activities with local merchants, law enforcement, public agencies and community coalitions.
- Works to strengthen relationships among retail merchants and ALE agents. This effort includes providing information to merchants on the availability of the BARS (Be A Responsible Seller) training program.
- Distributes (statewide) signs and brochures related to the state law and the responsibilities of retail merchants.
- Seeks to partner with local communities to raise awareness of youth access to tobacco products through media activities, retailer education and training and local recognition events.
On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, the NC Division of Alcohol Law Enforcement, the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund partnered together to launch the Red Flag Tobacco Enforcement Campaign.
The Red Flag campaign is designed to educate the retail community on North Carolina's color coded driver's license format (red on the license means the holder is underage) in order to promote compliance with prohibitions on selling tobacco to minors.
For more information on this program or to learn how ALE can partner with you on your local activities/events, please contact Carol Morris, Tobacco Coordinator, at 919-715-1415.