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August 4, 1989

Cigarette Sales to Minors Through Vending Machines

JAMA. 1989;262(5):614-615. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430050024012

To the Editor. —  In the January 6, 1989, issue of JAMA there is a report entitled "Reducing the Illegal Sale of Cigarettes to Minors,"1 which is based on a project organized by several individuals in Santa Clara County, California.The authors advocate the elimination of cigarette vending machines and allege that they play a significant role in smoking by minors. This allegation is based on questionable research methods and faulty conclusions and is totally inconsistent with long-established facts and available information.We believe that JAMA readers deserve to be informed about the true situation regarding the availability of cigarette machines to minors and the insignificant role they play in purchases by minors.The authors of the Santa Clara County report indicate that only 8% of cigarettes are sold through vending machines (the actual figure today is 5%). Even for this negligible market share there is convincing proof that