Maine #1 In Enforcing Laws Prohibiting Sale Of Tobacco To Minors

November 22, 2005

Attorney General Rowe announced today that a recent study published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice has ranked Maine first in the nation in enforcing laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. The study ranked 20 states, 10 of the highest performing and 10 of lowest performing in preventing underage tobacco sales, and looked at the effectiveness of 26 enforcement strategies. The Attorney General's Office administers compliance with tobacco sales laws. The study, entitled Best Practices for Enforcing State Laws Prohibiting the Sale of Tobacco to Minors, was conducted by Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza, M.D, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"It is fabulous to get this national recognition, but the real reward for keeping Maine kids from smoking will be in the long-term cost savings for everyone and life quality improvements for those kids," said Attorney General Rowe.

"When we began enforcing the law prohibiting underage tobacco sales in 1997 Maine had one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country," said Tobacco Enforcement Coordinator John Archard, "Combined with the Department's comprehensive approach to tobacco prevention including education components, activities of local Healthy Maine Partnerships, school health coordinators and media campaigns, and the efforts of the Maine Coalition on Smoking or Health this effort has contributed to the 60% decline in youth smoking in Maine since 1997."

An abstract of the study can be found at: <;jsessionid=DDzobhYedN6BW3LQ76gbMv8DzTDNgb4PzBCT6k9HXgiRufoQskrc!-181702980!-949856144!9001!-1>