Compliance checks are conducted in an effort to reduce youth access to tobacco products. By refusing the sale of tobacco to minors, clerks make it more difficult for young people to access tobacco and reduce the chance that they will start to smoke. Compliance checks are conducted with an adult escort from the Tobacco Prevention Program and an underage volunteer. This is the only way we can check retailers and ensure they are not selling tobacco to minors.
The tobacco industry continues to target young people because they constantly are losing customers from quitting smoking or by dying. The average smoker starts smoking at 12 years old. If we can stop young people from smoking before the legal age of 18, they are less likely to ever start using tobacco.
Tobacco is a very addictive drug. Symptoms of addiction can appear in young kids within weeks or days after occasional smoking begins. Smoking appears to be related to the use of other chemical substances such as marijuana, alcohol, crack, and cocaine.
The federal government requires compliance checks to be conducted and if states fall below 80 percent compliant, they may lose federal substance abuse funds.