Published on February 23rd, 2016 | by The Kitsap Scene0
Tobacco Sales to Minors Down 13 Percent in Kitsap County
While tobacco sales to minors are on the rise statewide, in Kitsap County, sales to minors were actually down in 2015.
It’s the second year in a row illegal tobacco sales to minors decreased in Kitsap County, according to a press release. Statewide, illegal sales to minors are at their highest level since 1997, the release states.
In Kitsap County, the rate dropped to 13.3 percent of retailers selling to minors, while the state rate increased to 17.1 percent.
Nearly nine out of 10 people who smoke start by age 18, and 104,000 Washington youth alive today will die prematurely from a disease caused by smoking, the release states.
“We are proud of the efforts of our Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions and participating youth,” said Laura Hyde, prevention coordinator of the Kitsap County Substance Abuse Prevention Program in the Department of Human Services. “This dramatic change to our environment inspires us to continue our collaboration supporting a healthy substance free community.”
Kitsap County Substance Abuse Prevention Services work to reduce youth tobacco usage in partnership with the Bremerton, North Kitsap and South Kitsap Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions, the release states. The prevention coalitions share a common goal to prevent youth substance abuse through the creation of a framework of resources, support, and collaborative partnerships. The coalitions reach out to communities throughout the county to provide opportunities for youth to be in safe and substance-free environments.
Activities of the coalitions include:
• Coordinating community efforts to reduce youth substance abuse
• Organizing youth substance abuse prevention and positive youth developments events
• Alcohol and marijuana retailer education
• Leadership skill development and mentoring opportunities for youth
• Public education about substance abuse and other prevention topics
The Washington State Department of Health released its 2015 figures on Feb. 17, reporting on the increase in illegal tobacco sales to minors. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board conducts compliance checks at local retail businesses. Working with local law enforcement, underage teens try to buy cigarettes and other tobacco products at randomly selected retailers. Clerks who sell tobacco to minors can be fined up to $100. Retail owners may be fined up to $1,500 and have their license revoked for up to five years.
For more information on Kitsap County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalitions, visit www.kitsapgov.com/hs/