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July 17, 2001

Governor Ryan Helps Communities Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that for the second year the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is awarding $1 million in grants to 165 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, 9,000 retail education kits will be distributed to tobacco retailers and communities which will collectively conduct approximately 16,000 compliance checks of tobacco retailers. The combined population of the 165 communities represents 69 percent of the state's total population.

"We are excited to offer this program to Illinois communities and commend them for their interest in protecting the future health of our children," 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 Fiscal Year 2002 budget includes $51.2 million for smoking prevention efforts, including: $16.9 million for a tobacco use prevention program run by the Department of Public Health; $16.9 million for an anti-smoking campaign run by local health departments; $11 million for youth smoking prevention programs run by the Department of Public Health; $4.5 million for other health programs for children and $2 million for various other smoking prevention efforts.

During the 2000-01 Tobacco Enforcement Program, 141 communities representing 70% of the state's total population conducted 15,000 tobacco compliance checks. During the first round of checks 80 percent of the retailers refused to sell tobacco to minors. After the second round of compliance checks the compliance rate was 85 percent, and preliminary third round checks are also showing an 85 percent retailer compliance rate to minimum-age tobacco laws.


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