Undercover Research Shows How Easily Teens Can Buy Tobacco Products in U.S. ShopsJune 25, 2019 15:46
Even underage smokers in the United States can effortlessly buy a tobacco product especially from small stores as they are usually not asked for identification, says a study.
The researchers aged between 20 and 21 visited a variety of stores selling cigarettes in the United States and found that more than 60 percent of cashiers did not ask them for identification.
Published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, the study found that young adult tobacco users slipped by without an age check most oftentimes when they visited small stores, tobacco shops, and shops plastered with tobacco advertisements.
"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 Megan Roberts, Assistant Professor at Ohio State University.
"One implication of this finding is that enforcement may benefit from targeted outreach and monitoring at these locations," she added. The study involved visits to a randomly sampled 103 tobacco sellers in 2017.
More than 64 percent of grocery stores checked identity documents, compared with about 34 percent of tobacco shops and convenience stores, and 29 percent of restaurants, bars, and alcohol stores.
"Having a minimum legal sales age for tobacco is important for reducing youth access to tobacco. Not only does it prevent young people from purchasing tobacco for themselves, but it prevents them from buying tobacco and distributing it to others, often younger peers," Roberts said.
By Sowmya Sangam