MINNEAPOLIS (Sept. 30, 2014) — A coalition of Minnesota’s retailers, service stations, wholesales, grocers and convenience stores applaud a report released showing Minnesota leads the nation in preventing the sale of tobacco products to minors.
A study by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed Minnesota with a 99 percent compliance rate.
“As retailers, we are extremely proud that Minnesota continues to lead the nation in preventing the sale of tobacco products to minors,” said Bruce Nustad, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association.
States are required to conduct annual undercover inspections of licensed tobacco retailers to check for unlawful sales of tobacco to minors under the federal Synar law, named for the Congressman who sponsored it. Minnesota repeatedly is among the highest in compliance.
“Retailers in partnership with members of our coalition spend a great deal of time educating employees on best practices for stopping underage tobacco sales. This report is proof that investment is paying off,” said Nustad.
The news also received praise from Governor Mark Dayton’s administration.
“Curtailing illegal sales of tobacco is a vital step to promoting healthier kids and healthier communities because the smoking habit often starts at an early age,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, in a press release. “Minnesota’s high compliance rate shows that retailers are recognizing their responsibility to help keep tobacco out of the hands of people who are under age.”
Even though many retailers face a difficult business climate, especially along the Minnesota border, they remain vigilant in the effort to prevent sales to minors.