In 2015, the Monrovia Coalition to Reduce Teen Smoking conducted a tobacco purchase survey, which revealed that 11 out of 26 Monrovia retailers (42.3%) were willing to sell tobacco products to minors. Further, in 2017, five out of the 12 Monrovia stores (41.7%) that sell electronic smoking devices were willing to sell them to 16 and 17-year-old Monrovians. Although it has been illegal to sell tobacco products to minors in California for over 100 years, tobacco retailers in Monrovia continue to do so.
To address this issue, our coalition moved to educate youth, families and businesses about youth access to deadly tobacco products. However, education has not been effective to curtail tobacco sales to underage youth. Local regulation and enforcement of tobacco laws are proven to be the most effective means to stopping tobacco sales to youth. Many other cities including Duarte and Temple City have successfully used Tobacco Retail License (TRL) policies to reduce youth access to tobacco. A local TRL policy provides for regular compliance checks to ensure retailers are not selling tobacco to minors.
The use of electronic tobacco products has become very popular among our Monrovian youth. We know that lifetime tobacco addiction almost always begins by the time youth graduate from high school. Current tobacco control measures in Monrovia do not address the problem of illegal sales to youth, and state resources are still inadequate to provide effective enforcement against illegal sales.
Our community needs to take action, let’s stop tobacco sales to youngsters.
– Youth Member of Monrovia Coalition to Reduce Teen Smoking