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California Reports Drop in Tobacco Sales to Minors

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Sales of tobacco to minors in California have dropped to 5.6 percent, the lowest rate since the state started keeping track of the sales in 1995, the state’s Department of Public Health announced.

In 1995, the rate was 37 percent, CBS San Francisco reports. The state collects its data each year by sending minors into randomly selected stores to try to buy cigarettes. Stores caught selling tobacco to minors can be fined as much as $6,000.

The survey found stores that are considered non-traditional tobacco retailers, such as donut shops, discount stores, delis, produce markets and gift stores, have a higher rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors—9.8 percent on average.

Traditional tobacco retailers, including liquor stores, convenience stores, supermarkets, drugstores, gas stations and tobacco shops, averaged 4.8 percent, according to a news release by the California Department of Public Health.

“We are proud that fewer retailers are selling cigarettes to minors, but we have more work to do to guarantee that all kids in California grow up tobacco free,” said Department Director Dr. Ron Chapman.

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