Isn’t It Already Illegal to Sell Tobacco To Minors?
You might be wondering why No Minor Sale is focusing on the dangers of illegal tobacco sales to minors, when it is already illegal to sell tobacco to youth under age 18. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why illegal sales are still happening:
- Reason #1: Retailers don’t know there is a problem. More education is needed to explain evolving tobacco regulations, the impact of underage tobacco sales, and how retailers can help prevent illegal transactions at their stores.
- Reason #2: There is limited incentive to make following this law a priority. Right now, retailers only receive a compliance check 1-2 times per year. When stores are caught selling to minors, the penalties are inconsistent and often weak.
- Reason #3: New Mexico laws are out of date. For instance, New Mexico is one of only 13 states that does not require a license to sell tobacco. Tobacco retail licensing is a proven way to reduce youth access to tobacco products. Rule-breakers lose their license, which provides a strong incentive for businesses to follow the law.
- Reason #4: We don’t know where tobacco is being sold. Retailers go in and out of business frequently, and our state does not require tobacco retailers to register or obtain tobacco licensing. If we don’t know where tobacco is being sold, it is difficult to enforce the law.