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August 15, 2001

Preventing Tobacco Purchases by Underage Youths

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorJody W.ZylkeMD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2001;286(7):789-790. doi:10.1001/jama.286.7.789

To the Editor: In their Research Letter, Dr Landrine and colleagues1 present evidence that young smokers can circumvent laws requiring store clerks to check identification cards. The implication is that methods to assess youth access to tobacco are often inadequate and, more critically, that youth access is much higher than generally reported. Inaccurate compliance rates are of special concern to the 4 states (Washington, Florida, New Hampshire, and Maine) that meet federal regulations2 and consequently receive funds for substance abuse prevention and treatment. These states rely on compliance checks to enforce the regulation. The experience in Washington State suggests that active education and aggressive checking for compliance may reduce youth access while raising new challenges.

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