News Release

For Immediate Release
June 23, 1998
CONTACT: Karen L. Faltin
Industry Education Manager
Office: (312) 814-4802
Illinois youths will try to purchase tobacco products during
a $200,000 cooperative education and advertising campaign

Illinois youths will try to purchase tobacco products during a $200,000 education and advertising campaign conducted by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC), the state's lead agency in developing a strategy for reducing the availability and delivery of tobacco products to minors, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This first state-federal education and advertising campaign is designed to help reduce illegal sales of tobacco products to children. The multi-media campaign features radio, print and billboard ads that will run in Chicago for a four week period beginning the week of June 22. Over 11,000 Chicagoland retailers will receive tobacco retailer kits.

The materials use humor and wordplay to remind retailers, clerks and customers about the law and the retailer's risk of fines. One in-store poster, for example, has a retailer saying, "I don't make the laws. I just pay the fines if I break it." And a billboard states, "You want to sell cigarettes to kids? Fine. $250 and up."

"We are excited to participate in this campaign," stated Arabel Alva Rosales, executive director of the ILCC. "We hope this education and advertising campaign, coupled with enforcement, will have positive results on increasing retailer compliance with the law," stated Rosales.

The campaign is one part of a combined state-federal effort to prevent adolescents from becoming regular tobacco users. The ILCC, under an eighteen month contract with the FDA, is performing 9,000 unannounced investigations of retail establishments to enforce minimum age laws on tobacco sales. Retailers caught selling tobacco products to minors risk fines starting at $250.

ILCC regulatory officials are commissioned by the FDA to accompany the youths as they attempt to purchase tobacco products in retail establishments throughout the state. Studies show that the best way to keep retailers from selling tobacco products to children is through a combination of compliance activities and public education campaigns that target both retailers and consumers. During this time, retailers will receive retailer kits including posters and other display items informing staff and customers of the tobacco laws.

"The materials developed for the current state campaigns are so eye-catching that retailers will want to put them in their stores," said Dr. Michael A. Friedman, FDA's lead deputy commissioner. "We want to do everything we can to help retailers comply with the law. That's why the FDA campaign is designed to encourage customers to cooperate with retailers who are trying to do the right thing."

The education campaigns will initially run in ten states - California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. These states already have signed compliance contracts with the FDA.

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.
Results confirm that since the kick-off of the "KCBEH" program, Illinois has seen a 41% reduction in illegal underage tobacco sales. Survey results show that in 1997, retailers across the state complied with the tobacco minimum age laws 73.9% of the time, compared with 32.9% in 1994.

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) is the state regulatory agency which ensures that 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 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.