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PROTECTING YOUTH
FROM TOBACCO
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HOW DOES BIG TOBACCO TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE?

The tobacco industry has a long and ugly history of targeting young people. Tobacco company representatives used to give away free menthol cigarettes to kids as young as nine years old. 

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While giveaways are now illegal, stores sell some tobacco products for less than $1. Prices are lowest of all in low-income minority neighborhoods with large numbers of school-age youth. 

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© California Department of Public Health

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These cheap products, kid-friendly flavors, e-cigarettes, and stores that sell tobacco to kids are many of the reasons why nearly 90% of smokers start before age 18. 

© California Department of Public Health

TOBACCO EXECUTIVES SAY IT BEST

‘‘

We don’t smoke that sh*t.
We just sell it.
We reserve the right to smoke
for the young, the poor,
the black and stupid.

’’

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Stock photo. Posed by model.

 But there is a solution: 
 A Tobacco Retail License. 
 
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© California Department of Public Health

WHAT IS A TOBACCO RETAIL LICENSE?

A Tobacco Retail License (TRL) requires businesses to pay a yearly fee to sell tobacco. The fee is used to enforce tobacco laws. Stores caught selling to underage youth the first time have their license suspended for a limited period. Multiple violations result in a loss of license. This motivates retailers to make sure their clerks ask for I.D. every time.

Communities with TRLs have reduced sales to underage youth. 209 cities and counties in California have adopted TRLs to help keep kids away from tobacco.

More communities are discovering that not allowing coupons, together with minimum prices and pack sizes, is an effective way to stop every manipulative pricing strategy tobacco companies use to attract youth and keep smokers addicted. 

TRLs limit tobacco sales in other ways that further protect kids:

Join LGBTQ Minus Tobacco in the fight to protect youth from tobacco in your community!