Iowa retailers got their best ever marks in the most recent test of whether they’d sell cigarettes to an undercover minor sent in by state officials. Department of Public Health Deputy Director Janet Zwick says the number of retailers who sold to kids illegally fell by more than half. She say they were non-compliant, that is sold tobacco to minors, only five percent of the time. She says that compares to 11 percent. Zwick says there are several reasons for the continued increase in the number of retailers to who refuse to sell. She says the partnership between the retailers. law enforcement, community partnerships and state agencies and the training among those groups is beginning to show success. Zwick says they’ve focused on trying to show retailers how to train their employees to not sell to minors. She says they’ve worked with retailers and local law enforcement officers in the training. Zwick says the ultimate goal is to have all the retailers refuse to sell to minors — and she thinks that attainable. She says if we continue to educate and to do training it is attainable. Zwick says shutting down the sale of cigarettes from stores won’t end underage tobacco use — but it will help. She says that when we make it a lot harder to buy, you keep some kids form smoking. She says the state also has to keep compliance at minimum or face a state fine. Zwick says she hasn’t seen the comparisons for this year, but says Iowa traditionally has done well in comparison to other states.
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