Retail clerks play key role in limiting youth access to tobacco
To the editor, The next time you’re at the store and you hear a clerk ask for an ID for a tobacco purchase, please join Youth2Youth 4 Change in saying “thank you.” Retail clerks play a key role in decreasing youth access to tobacco by routinely carrying out the law — not allowing youth under 18 to purchase tobacco and nicotine products. Clerks are the first line of enforcement in preventing youth access to tobacco products. When kids have a hard time getting tobacco, they use less. And the less tobacco our kids use, the more “Wisconsin Wins.”
The Wisconsin Wins program is a science-based, statewide initiative designed to decrease youth access to tobacco products. Most tobacco users get started before the age of 18, which is why it’s so important to prevent tobacco sales to minors.
According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, 2,600 Wisconsin youth become new daily smokers each year. Most tobacco products are bought in convenience stores, gas stations and grocery stores, where the industry focuses the majority of its marketing efforts.
Free resources available at WITobaccoCheck.org help responsible retailers follow the law, avoid costly fines and keep tobacco out of kids’ hands — especially new, candy-flavored tobacco products that are marketed to appeal to youth. When tobacco retailers make the choice to say no, what they are really saying no to is tobacco’s deadly addiction.
So the next time you’re at the store and you hear a clerk ask for an ID for a tobacco purchase, please join our coalition in saying thank you. We can’t overstate the importance of the clerk saying these two important words: “ID please.” Together, we can prevent the tobacco industry from making lifelong customers out of Rock County youth.
Fran Fruzen, chairman Youth2Youth 4 Change Coalition Beloit