Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Youth access to tobacco

Good news for Louisiana's youth: According to a new report from the state's Department of Health and Hospitals, fewer children are being sold cigarettes across the state. (The complete Youth Access to Tobacco Report is available here.) In Louisiana overall, 7% of convenience stores were found selling cigarettes to minors. That wasn't much of a change from last year, but the overall trend is a positive one. Almost 800 state tobacco retail outlets were tested and according to these numbers, an average of 93% of them passed the test. That's especially good news since, according to the Times Picayune, "when federal and state officials first measured noncompliance in 1997, Louisiana had the highest rate in the nation, 72.7percent." Northwest Louisiana dropped from 21.74% to 7.1%. That's great news. But Southwest Louisiana still has a problem. In that region, more than 26% of the stores examined in the study were selling cigarettes to minors. That's up from under 10% last year. Overall, the state's performance is improving and that's good news no matter how you look at it.