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Strict Retail Tobacco Licensing Laws Help Reduce Teen Smoking Rates


Tobacco retail licensing laws that restrict the sale of cigarettes to minors may reduce teen cigarette and e-cigarette use according to a study in the February 2019 issue of Pediatrics.  “Tobacco Retail Licensing and Youth Product Use,” (published online Jan. 7) found that teens in areas with strict tobacco retail licensing laws, and regular retail compliance checks and enforcement, are less likely to use cigarettes and  e-cigarettes.  Data for the study were gathered from a survey of 1,552 11th and 12th grade teens regarding their tobacco use. Researchers found that those who lived in areas with the most restrictive laws for sale of cigarettes to minors were more than a third less likely to have ever used cigarettes and half as likely to report use in the past 30 day than those living in areas with more lenient laws. Teens in areas with more restrictive laws were also less likely subsequently to initiate cigarette use and less likely to initiate e-cigarette use or to report use in the past 30 days.  The authors conclude that strict tobacco retail licensing laws, and continued monitoring and enforcement of those laws at the retail level, could be playing a part in reducing teen tobacco product use.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds