Underage Tobacco Sales In Dane County Are At Highest Levels Since 2006

Undercover Stings Find Pharmacies May Be Worst Offenders

Illegal underage tobacco sales are at their highest since 2006 in Dane County. Photo: Nick Perla (CC-BY-NC-SA).

A series of undercover stings has found that illegal tobacco sales in Dane County are at their highest levels since 2006.

Under a state-funded prevention program called Wisconsin Wins, youth inspectors age 16 and 17 were able to buy tobacco products 15.5 percent of the time in Dane County, according to Ryan Sheahan, the coordinator for the Tobacco Free Columbia-Dane County Coalition.

“Gas and convenience stores had a pretty high sales rate — 15.9 percent,” said Sheahan. “The highest we actually saw was in pharmacies. We had 35 checks with 11 sales. So it’s not a high number of inspections, but it was a high sales rate.”

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In Wisconsin, age-restricted tobacco products include cigarettes, cigars, rolling papers containing tobacco, chewing tobacco and loose tobacco. E-cigarettes, which are growing in popularity, are also age-restricted in Wisconsin.

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