The number of tobacco sales to minors in Madison has increased for a second straight year, according to a report from Public Health Madison and Dane County.
The organization conducted compliance checks of Dane County retailers using teams of supervised 16-and 17-year-olds. The team checked 232 businesses in 2012 and was sold tobacco almost 13 percent of the time.
The report states that the compliance checks in 2012 found Madison-area retailers sold to minors 15.4 percent of the time. The rate is a slight improvement over 16.9 percent in 2011. In Dane County, the rate rose from 7.7 percent to 10.4 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Retailers who are caught selling tobacco to minors are issued a citation.
Public Health Madison and Dane County reported the current increased rates of tobacco sales to minors come after four years of declines.
"Retail clerks are on the front line in preventing young people from getting access to tobacco products, because when minors have a harder time getting tobacco products, they are less likely to become lifetime tobacco addicts," said Lyle Burmeister, PHMDC's Tobacco Control Youth Coordinator.