Underage tobacco sales down in Portage County
PORTAGE COUNTY — Underage tobacco sales continue to drop in the area, according to a Portage County Health & Human Services news release.
The release states that in 2017, 18.2 percent of tobacco retailers in Portage County illegally sold tobacco products to youth. In 2018, the illegal sales rate decreased to 8.7 percent, almost a 10 percent decrease.
In comparison, Wood County saw a sales rate of 23.4 percent and Marathon County had a sales rate of 8.9 percent in 2018.
Wisconsin as a whole saw a decrease in underage tobacco sales. Underage sales fell from 7.1 percent in 2017 to 5.8 percent in 2018, according to the Federal Synar Survey – which measures how frequently tobacco retailers sell to minors.
Little cigars/cigarillos were the most sold item statewide at 7.4 percent, followed by smokeless tobacco (6.7 percent) and e-cigarettes (5.1 percent). In Portage County, the only products that were sold to minors during the inspections were little cigars/cigarillos.
The Wisconsin Wins program has a specific focus on using positive reinforcement and works hard to recognize compliant tobacco retailers. This program would not be possible without the dedication and assistance of youth investigators, who completed a total of 46 inspections in 2018. For each inspection, youth always use their real I.D.’s and always answer honestly if asked about their age. No deception is involved in the investigation. To learn more about the Wisconsin Wins program, visit wiwins.org.
“Thank you to all Portage County retailers who did not sell tobacco to minors in 2018!”