There’s always that one store in the neighborhood that will sell to underage patrons, but when it comes to tobacco, it’s coming from places that aren’t necessarily thought to.
More and more young people are able to get their hands on tobacco because certain shops — primarily smaller, heavily-advertised tobacco shops — aren’t carding them for a pack of smokes, according to new research.
The study, which was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, sent researchers between ages 20 and 21 to different shops that sold tobacco in Columbus, OH that had yet to implement new laws prohibiting sales to patrons under 21. Although some cashiers asked for identification, more than half didn’t bother, according to the study.
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More than 60% of cashiers didn’t ask for identification, and the study said that it happened mostly at smaller stores like tobacco shops and others plastered with ads promoting tobacco.
“Our findings suggest that certain types of stores — tobacco shops, convenience stores and those with a lot of tobacco advertising — are more likely to sell tobacco to a young person without checking his or her ID,” said researcher Megan Roberts in a statement. “One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations.”
Under Columbus law, retailers are supposed to ID anyone who appears under 30. Researchers said it wasn’t a shock to see these smaller-type stores looking the other way on the law, as they had a product to sell.
“It makes sense, if you think about it, that people who are plastering their windows with tobacco ads probably are trying to make a lot of money off those products and may be more likely to look the other way when selling to a young adult,” added Niru Murali.