Students who inspected Cibola County merchants this spring as part of the ACL Teen Centers' Tobacco Merchant Compliance Checks program found 100% compliance rate of nine area merchants that followed the law and did not sell tobacco products to youth. A Certificate of Recognition goes to the following merchants: In Grants, Allsup's Convenience Stores on Santa Fe Ave. and on Roosevelt Ave., Conoco on Hwy 66, Conoco Country Store on Santa Fe Ave., Smith's Food and Drug Center on Roosevelt Ave., Thunderbird Lanes on Jefferson Ave., Milan's SuperMarket on Hwy 66, Petro's Shopping Center on Horizon Blvd. and Cubero's Villa de Cubero.
As part of their overall health promotion program, the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna (ACL) Teen Centers carry out the "SYNAR Tobacco Merchant Education and Merchant Compliance Checks" project in and around Cibola County. They work with youth from the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna, and To'hajiilee Reservation.
In the fall of 2004, 29 merchants received merchant education about the importance of complying with the NM Tobacco Products Act and ways to help keep youth healthy. This spring, five students, ages 15-17, who had parent permission and while supervised, conducted random, unannounced inspections to 9 merchants. The teens did not carry ID or enough money to buy cigarettes or other products, nor do they disguise themselves or change how they look. All 9 merchants passed these compliance checks!
The SYNAR project is funded by the New Mexico Department of Health, Behavioral Health Services Division. Lora Church, Teen Centers' Senior Program Manager says, "The effort to prevent tobacco use by youth is a community-wide effort. This is a great example of how local business enterprises are actively involved in reducing youth's commercial access to tobacco products."
According to CDC's report, "Preventing tobacco use among young people", teens who smoke are three times more likely than nonsmokers to use alcohol, eight times more likely to use marijuana, and 22 times more likely to use cocaine.
The ACL Teen Centers have served the ACL communities for over 20 years. They provide medical and mental health services to students from two school-based health clinics at To'hajiilee Community School and Laguna/Acoma Middle/Senior High School. In addition, Substance Abuse Prevention services are provided to students attending the five area elementary and middle schools. The ACL Teen Centers are affiliated with the UNM HSC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Albuquerque.
Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322