News Release

For Immediate Release
July 30, 1999
CONTACT: Karen L. Faltin
Industry Education Manager
(312) 814-4802

U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Illinois Liquor Control Commission
team up against illegal tobacco sales

The state of Illinois has been selected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an intensive 6 week campaign to curb the sale of tobacco products to minors. The $30,000 multi-media campaign features radio, print and billboard ads that will run in Rockford beginning August 2 and ending September 10th.

The materials use humor and wordplay to remind retailers, clerks and customers about tobacco minimum-age laws 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."

Sam Panayotovich, executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC), Rockford Mayor Charles Box and youth inspection participants joined in announcing the program Friday.

AWe are excited to participate in this campaign,@ stated Sam Panayotovich, executive director of the ILCC. "We hope this education and advertising campaign will increase retailer compliance with the tobacco minimum-age laws,@ stated Panayotovich.

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 compliance checks 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.

"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."

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 55.6 percentage point increase in statewide retailer compliance to tobacco minimum-age laws over the past six years. 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.

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, write to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission at 100 W. Randolph St., Suite 5-300, Chicago, IL 60601, or visit us on our web site at http://www.state.il.us/lcc .