News Release

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2000
CONTACT: Karen L. Faltin
Industry Education Manager
Office: (312) 814-4802

Illinois Liquor Control Commission announces partnership with the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reduce illegal tobacco sales to minors

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC), the state's lead agency to develop strategies reducing the availability and delivery of tobacco products to minors, announces its partnership for the fourth consecutive year with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will enhance ongoing efforts by the ILCC to curb underage tobacco sales.

Under a twelve-month contract with the FDA, the ILCC will use underage youths to conduct approximately 6,000 unannounced investigations. ILCC regulatory officials will be commissioned by the FDA to accompany the youths as they attempt to purchase tobacco products in tobacco retail establishments throughout the state. Warnings will be issued to retailers who are caught selling tobacco to underage youths for a first violation. For repeat violations, the FDA will seek a fine of $250 for the second violation; $1,500 for the third; $5,000 for the fourth; and $10,000 for the fifth.

The partnership will allow for statewide enforcement of the FDA's regulation which prohibits retailers from selling cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to anyone under the age of 18. This effort, joined with the ILCC's "Kids Can't Buy 'Em Here" (KCBEH) campaign, proposes to significantly reduce the number of underage tobacco sales in Illinois.

"We are pleased to be chosen for the fourth consecutive year to work with the FDA to enforce its regulation," stated Sam Panayotovich, executive director of the ILCC. "When we introduced the "Kids Can't Buy 'Em Here" campaign in 1995, our goal was to see the numbers of illegal underage tobacco sales decrease at the retail level. With help from the FDA, we are achieving that goal more quickly." Results confirm that since the kick-off of the AKCBEH program, Illinois has seen a 55.6 percentage point reduction in illegal underage tobacco sales. Survey results show that in 1999, retailers across the state complied with the tobacco minimum age laws 88.5% of the time, compared with 32.9% in 1994.

Before the FDA agreement, the ILCC had been aggressively promoting the "Kids Can't Buy 'Em Here" campaign and a two-year demonstration project which stresses vendor education and enforcement of tobacco minimum-age laws.
"We hope educational programs, coupled with enforcement, will have positive long-term results on increasing retailer compliance with the law," stated Panayotovich.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed a new web site containing the national results of tobacco retailer compliance with the FDA rule prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to minors. The new web site, known as "ComplianceChecker," is available on the FDA's Children and Tobacco home page at www.fda.gov. It contains the results of more than 141,000 inspections of tobacco retailers conducted across the country between August 1997 and mid-October 1999. During this time, the overall rate of illegal tobacco sales to minors for the checks conducted was approximately 25 percent.
The web site enables individuals to obtain results by state, city and even by the name of a store.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is the state regulatory agency which ensures that liquor licensees comply with the provisions of the Liquor Control Act. In addition, the Commission provides industry education programs, which focus on enforcement practices, the meaning of Illinois liquor control laws, the reduction of illegal sales of alcoholic beverages to minors, and responsibility - BASSET in serving and selling practices. For additional information call 312/814-2206 or write to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission at 100 W. Randolph St., Suite 5-300, Chicago, IL 60601.