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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Number of Kentucky Youths Purchasing Tobacco Remains Low

Press Release Date:  Thursday, January 10, 2008  
Contact Information:  Contact: Gwenda Bond or Vikki Franklin (502)564-6786  


FRANKFORT, KY (Jan. 10, 2008) - Kentucky vendors are making sure tobacco products aren’t falling into the hands of minors according to a recently released survey from the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS).

This year’s Annual Buying Survey of retail tobacco outlets revealed that about 94 percent of retailers complied with the law barring tobacco sales to anyone under the age of 18. The Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) conducted the survey last summer to determine illegal sales of tobacco to Kentucky youth. The survey was completed in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse in the Department for Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services (MH/MR).  

 “Reducing the prevalence of tobacco sales to minors is a crucial piece of our work to prevent youth smoking and tobacco use,” said CHFS Acting Undersecretary for Health William Hacker, M.D. “The results of this survey indicate we’re moving in the right direction. Fewer people are dependent on tobacco products because of the work of our substance abuse program, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Department of Agriculture and the Office of Drug Control Policy.”

The 2007 non-compliance rate is almost identical to the last two years’ rates of 6.3 percent. Kentucky’s non-compliance rates have dropped considerably from previous years. The compliance rate for 2004 was 5.6 percent. In 2002, the rate was 9.7 percent. Rates for 2001, 2000 and 1999 were 12.3 percent, 13.4 percent and 19.7 percent, respectively.

“Kentucky has made great strides in reducing youth access to tobacco products, thereby reducing the incidence of youth tobacco use,” said Bill Patrick, executive director of the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP). “The combined efforts of the Regional Prevention Centers, the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, ODCP, ABC and KY-ASAP are improving the health of young Kentuckians by reducing the illegal use of tobacco products.”   

Federal law authorizes the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant and requires states to enact and enforce laws designed to reduce the availability of tobacco products to people younger than 18. The state must conduct the Annual Buying Survey using a scientific random sample study protocol approved by the federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, and must demonstrate that its non-compliance rate does not exceed the target of 20 percent for illegal tobacco sales to minors. 

The SAPT Block Grant, administered by CHFS, is the single largest funding stream in Kentucky supporting substance abuse prevention and treatment.

Statistics from the annual buying survey allow the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse to better target prevention efforts and resources.

For more information about this program and other substance abuse prevention or treatment programs, call Johnnie Woods, CHFS’ Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, at (502) 564-4456.

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Last Updated 1/10/2008