Tobacco Sales to Underage Customers Reported

Monday, April 23, 2007 - 9:41am

Vendor Compliance Rates for 2006 Show Mixed Results

Madison, WI, Tuesday, April 24, 2007- Every year, the Department of Public Health for Madison and Dane County, under a contract with the WI WINS Program, a state-wide initiative designed to decrease youth access to tobacco products, issues a report on how well tobacco vendors are doing with regard to preventing underage young people from purchasing tobacco products.

According to the recently released compliance report covering 2006, the overall compliance rate for all of Dane County was 80.6%. While this appears to reflect a good level of compliance, it also means that almost one in every five underage attempts to buy tobacco products was successful. The non-compliance rate for the City of Madison was 18.3%, with the County rate was 20.5%.

Moreover, results reported in 2004 demonstrate a troubling growth of non-compliance. For example, in the City of Madison jumped from a 6.1% non-compliance rate in 2004 to an 18.3% rate in 2006. In comparison, the data for Dane County shows a 2004 non-compliance rate of 13.0 jumping to 20.5% in 2006.

Vendor categories include such businesses as convenience stores/gas stations, liquor stores, grocery stores, bowling alleys, hotels, drugstores and taverns.

According to Dr. Thomas Schlenker, Director of Public Health for Madison and Dane County, "Tobacco, a highly advertised, highly addictive, dangerous but affordable drug that comes in small packages, in a variety of colors and flavors, is a bad habit for anyone to acquire and should especially not be sold to children. Yet this report tells us that it's too easy for under-age people to buy cigarettes even in Madison and Dane County. We need to beef up prevention not only through greater compliance enforcement, but by raising tobacco taxes to more adequately fund enforcement and treatment programs, and discourage smoking in general by implementing a state-wide ban in all public places."

For the complete report and detailed data, consult the Public Health website at:



  • Jeff Golden267-2583