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THD Staff Conduct Tobacco Retail Visits at Local Stores to Educate Retailers, Deter Sales to Youth

TULSA, OKLA – [June 12, 2024] – The Tulsa Health Department’s TSET Healthy Living Program serving Tulsa County recently worked with youth volunteers to conduct tobacco retailer education visits. During a visit, an underage person went into a store and asked to buy a tobacco product, but with no intent to purchase it. Tobacco sales are prohibited nationwide to anyone under the age of 21.


Among the 70 tobacco retailer education visits conducted in 2023-2024, employees of 68 stores refused to sell tobacco to the underaged person.


“The visits are a prevention strategy aimed at reducing youth access to tobacco by educating tobacco retailers about the current Prevention of Youth Access to Tobacco laws and the negative impact that tobacco sales can have on underage persons in our community,” said TSET Healthy Living Program Assistant Coordinator Chelcie Jackson.


The visits are not meant to entrap local retailers, but rather to increase awareness and compliance of laws that were adopted to protect young people from the addiction and serious health risks that often come from vaping and tobacco use.


According to the latest national survey data, about 9.1 percent of high school students in Oklahoma smoke and 27.8 percent use vaping products. That’s why another aspect of the education visits is to reward tobacco retailers who properly review identification and refuse to sell tobacco to underage person.


“We definitely want to thank and recognize our local retailers who follow the law and protect our youth by asking for ID and refusing to sell tobacco and vape products to them,” said Jackson.


Preventing youth access to tobacco is just one of several strategies that the Tulsa Health Department’s TSET Healthy Living Program serving Tulsa County and community partners are working on to improve the health and wellness of Tulsa County residents. Other areas of focus include healthy options in food assistance programs, complete streets policy and implementation, and farmers’ markets.

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