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September 14, 2000

Governor Ryan Helps Communities Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is awarding $1 million in grants to 137 Illinois communities to implement the "Kids Can't Buy 'Em Here" Tobacco Enforcement Program to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

The purpose of the "Kids Can't Buy 'Em Here" Tobacco Enforcement Program is for communities to establish a comprehensive educational and enforcement program on minimum-age tobacco laws. During this program, communities will collectively conduct approximately 18,000 compliance checks of tobacco retailers.

"We are excited to offer this program to Illinois communities and commend them for their interest in assisting us reach our ultimate goal - for all kids to be tobacco-free," Ryan said. "Through the implementation of retail education programs, communities are equipping retailers in their areas with the appropriate tools that will assist in reducing illegal tobacco sales to minors. Grant recipients will conduct compliance checks to reinforce these education efforts."

The Governor's budget includes $30 million for smoking prevention efforts, including 10 million for programs in elementary and high schools, $10 million for an anti-smoking campaign run by local health departments, $5 million for youth smoking prevention programs run by the Department of Public Health, $2 million for other health programs for children and $2.1 million for various other smoking prevention efforts.

The combined population of the 137 communities represents 76.6% of the state's total population. Last year, these 137 communities combined conducted only 883 tobacco compliance checks, while this year their combined efforts will yield approximately 18,000 checks.


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