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South Carolina Study Finds Children Have Ready Access to Tobacco Products


February 1995

A study by the Alliance for a Smoke-Free South Carolina and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) finds that children as young as 12 years old are fairly successful in buying cigarettes ("South Carolina Studies Access to Tobacco," Southeast Sun, University of Louisville, Southeast Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities, Winter 1995, p. 1).

Youth volunteers between the ages of 12 and 17 were able to buy cigarettes 57 percent of the time. Of 2,525 attempts, 1,427 were successful.

Between April 16 and June 20, 1994, the volunteers, accompanied by adult drivers, tried to buy cigarettes in convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores, and from vending machines in hotels and restaurants in all 46 counties in South Carolina.

The volunteers were most successful with vending machines, where they were able to buy cigarettes 94% of the time.

South Carolina prohibited the sale of tobacco products to minors in 1889, making it one of the first states to do so.

[For more information, contact Dennis F. Nalty, Ph.D., director of Policy and Research, South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, 3700 Forest Drive, Columbia, SC 29204, 803-734-9520.]