Making Cigarettes Less Accessible to Youth

Muskegon, MI – Each year, as part of the No Cigs for Our Kids Campaign, local tobacco retailers are checked for compliance with the Youth Tobacco Act, which prohibits the selling, giving or furnishing of tobacco products to minors. Public Health – Muskegon County partners with the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office to conduct these tobacco compliance checks. Public Health – Muskegon County is pleased to report that 98% of retailers checked in 2019 were in compliance with the law.

“Nicotine is highly addictive and can create long term health problems. Our concern is for our kids and we want to do our part to promote healthy life choices and reduce the chances of major medical issues in their future,” said Captain Shane Brown of the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office.

The goal of the campaign is to reduce youth access to tobacco by focusing on educating retailers on the importance of compliance with the Youth Tobacco Act. Over the past 5 years the public health department and law enforcement from all Muskegon County jurisdictions have been working together to provide vendor education to more than 100 retailers annually. In addition to vendor education and verifying the clerk’s ability to refuse the sale of tobacco to a minor, officials are also looking for Youth Tobacco Act signs, which retail stores are required to post.

“The younger youth start smoking, the more likely they are to become addicted and the majority of smokers started before the age of 18,” explains Missy Gallegos, Public Health Educator at Public Health – Muskegon County. “We want to thank retailers for understanding the important role they play in preventing tobacco addiction and for helping keep our kids tobacco free.”