Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 8:34am

Every year, Public Health Madison & Dane County (PHMDC) conducts unannounced compliance checks of tobacco retailers in Madison and Dane County where underage youth, under the supervision of Public Health staff, attempt to purchase tobacco and nicotine products. Under Wisconsin law, persons under 18 years of age cannot purchase cigarettes, nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, or tobacco products. The compliance check program is part of Wisconsin Wins, an evidence-based tobacco control program funded by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

In 2018, 168 compliance checks were conducted in Dane County (excluding Madison) for the sale of tobacco and nicotine products to minors. A variety of businesses like gas stations, convenience, grocery and liquor stores, bars and restaurants, tobacco and vape shops, pharmacies, bowling alleys, country clubs, and campgrounds were inspected. The compliance checks resulted in six sales of tobacco or nicotine products to youth, giving the county (excluding Madison) a sales rate of 4%. This is the same sales rate that the County had in 2017.
For the City of Madison, 123 compliance checks were conducted in 2018. The inspections resulted in 1 sale of tobacco or nicotine to youth, giving the City of Madison a 1% sales rate. This is a significant drop from the 18 (13% sale rate) sales in 2017.

This year, a notable change was an increased fine for businesses that sell tobacco or nicotine products to minors in the City of Madison. The citation has increased from $73.60 to $155.50 for businesses who violate the law and sell to minors. The citation for clerks remains at $73.60, with emphasis on completion of the Tobacco Check Training, found at

Tobacco continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Wisconsin and nationwide. Reducing youth access to tobacco and nicotine products remains a top priority to ensure a new generation doesn’t begin a lifelong addiction to nicotine.

For more information about the Wisconsin Wins Program, please visit contact Ryan Sheahan at 608.242.6297 or

For more information about the free online tobacco/nicotine sales training for retailers and clerks, please visit

A copy of the 2018 City of Madison Tobacco & Nicotine Compliance Report can be found at:

A copy of the 2018 Dane County (excluding Madison) Tobacco & Nicotine Compliance Report can be found at:


Health & Safety