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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2002

Governor Ryan Helps Communities Reduce Youth Access to Tobacco

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that for the third year the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is awarding $1 million in 165 grants to 250 Illinois communities to implement the “Kids Can’t Buy ‘Em Here” Tobacco Enforcement Program to reduce youth access to tobacco products.

The purpose of the “Kids Can’t Buy ‘Em Here” Tobacco Enforcement Program is for communities to establish a comprehensive educational and enforcement program on minimum-age tobacco laws. During this program, approximately 10,000 retail education kits will be distributed to tobacco retailers and communities, which will collectively conduct approximately 17,000 compliance checks of tobacco retailers. The combined population of the 250 communities represents 73 percent of the state’s total population.

“Although budget constraints have resulted in a reduction in funding for some tobacco prevention programs, we have not abandoned our commitment to keeping our youth away from tobacco products," Governor Ryan said. ”These funds are part of our ongoing efforts in continuing to educate the public and our children about the hazards of tobacco use.

"We also noted that since the increase in the tax on cigarettes, more people have decided to end their smoking habit."

The Fiscal Year 2003 budget includes $16.2 for smoking prevention efforts, including: $5 million for an anti-smoking campaign run by local health departments; $5 million for youth smoking prevention programs run by the Department of Public Health; $2.25 million for other health programs for children and $2 million for various other smoking prevention efforts.

During the 2001-02 Tobacco Enforcement Program, 165 communities conducted 16,794 tobacco compliance checks. During the first round of checks 86 percent of the retailers refused to sell tobacco to minors. After the second round of compliance checks the compliance rate was 89.4 percent, and after the third round checks the rate was 89.3 percent. Consequently, the overall average retailer compliance rate for the 2001-02 Tobacco Enforcement Program was 88 percent. This rate indicates a 4% increase in retailer compliance, which means more retailers refused to sell tobacco products to minors compared to the previous year.

Efforts aimed at tobacco education and prevention are also part of Futures for Kids Initiative. the Futures for Kids is a statewide resource relating to programs and policies aimed at infants, children and teenagers.



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