PHILADELPHIA–According to the recently released 2018 Synar report, sales of tobacco to youth in Philadelphia more than doubled in 2018, compared to 2017. Driven by illegal sales by tobacco retailers throughout the city, the overall rate of youth tobacco sales in Philadelphia in 2018 was more than twice the state rate. Violations, meaning illegal sales of tobacco to underage buyers, occurred across retailer types, consistent with data from what the Health Department finds during their own compliance check program. The state’s Synar report is developed using the results of a survey during which trained, supervised teens aged 15-17 attempt to buy tobacco at a sample of retail stores across the state.
Illegal sales of cigarettes to young people in Philadelphia have more than doubled in the last year, reversing a two-year decline in the practice, the Philadelphia Public Health Department announced Tuesday.
By Mari Schaefer
“These 2018 figures are unacceptable. After years of improvement, we were gratified to be making headway against illegal sales of tobacco to our city’s youth,” said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, Philadelphia’s director of chronic disease and injury prevention.
By Michael Tanenbaum
Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, director of chronic disease and injury prevention at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health says the city is taking action.
“We are doing education with retailers in multiple languages in multiple formats, some of it’s face-to-face, some of it is email fliers that are designed and stress that this is against the law,” she said. “We’ve also increased the number of compliance checks that we do so people who are selling to youth are getting ticketed more often and each ticket is $250, so those are real penalties.”
By Lynne Adkins