News Release

For Immediate Release
October 14, 1999
CONTACT: Karen L. Faltin
Industry Education Manager
(312) 814-4802

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

Attorney General Jim Ryan is sponsoring an intensive 4 week U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) campaign to curb the sale of tobacco products to minors. The $18,000 multi-media campaign features radio and billboard ads that will run in Springfield beginning October 14 and ending November 13th. Attorney General Jim Ryan=s Office funded this campaign by allocating a portion of the SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, L.P., settlement.

AI am pleased to see that a portion of the SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, L.P., settlement money was used to fund such a worthwhile cause,@ said Attorney General Jim Ryan. AWe have to do a better job in this state keeping tobacco products away from our children. I applaud the Liquor Control Commission and the FDA for their efforts addressing this serious threat to public health.@

The materials use humor and wordplay to remind retailers, clerks and customers about minimum-age tobacco laws and the retailer's risk of fines. One in-store poster, for example, has a retailer saying, AI don't make the laws. I just pay the fines if I break it.@

Sam Panayotovich, executive director of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC), Springfield Chief of Police John Harris and youth inspection participants joined in announcing the program Thursday.

AWe are excited to participate in this campaign,@ stated Sam Panayotovich, executive director of the ILCC. AWe 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 multiple contracts with the FDA, is performing 17,400 unannounced compliance checks of retail establishments to enforce minimum-age laws on tobacco sales. Retailers selling tobacco products to minors risk fines starting at $250. ILCC

regulatory officials are commissioned by the FDA to accompany youths as they attempt to purchase tobacco products in retail establishments throughout the state. Studies show the best way to keep retailers from selling tobacco products to children is through a combination of compliance activities and public education campaigns targeting both retailers and consumers.

AThe 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. AWe 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 AKids 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 AKCBEH@ 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 .