Underage Youth Complete Annual Checks

Students who inspected Cibola County merchants this spring, as part of a Synar Tobacco Merchant Compliance Checks program collaborative effort between the Acoma-Canoncito-Laguna (ACL) Teen Centers, found 7 out of 7 Merchants were compliant with the program. A student who participated in the compliance checks stated, “It was an interesting experience.”

Appreciation goes to the following merchants for not selling tobacco products to youth: Villa de Cubero and outlets located in Grants - Chevron, Phillips 66, Smith’s Food & Drug Center, Wal-Mart, Allsup’s, and Freeway Shell.

According to the New Mexico Tobacco Products Act, it is against the law for merchants to sell tobacco products to youth under 18 years of age. 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. Compliance checks are administered in the spring with the help of youth from the local area.

In the fall of 2009, Cibola County tobacco merchants received education about the NM Tobacco Products Act, the importance of compliance with an emphasis on keeping youth healthy while avoiding penalties. This spring, four students, ages 15-17, conducted supervised random, unannounced inspections to three local merchants. The teens did not carry identification or enough money to buy cigarettes or other products, nor do they disguise themselves or change how they look.

According to CDC’s report, “Preventing Tobacco Ise 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. Prevention of tobacco use by youth is very important and is a community-wide effort in Cibola County.

The Synar project is funded by the New Mexico Department of Health, Office of Substance Abuse Prevention. The ACL Teen Centers have served the ACL communities for over 25 years. They provide medical and mental health services to students from three school-based health clinics at To’hajiilee Community School, Laguna/Acoma Middle/Senior High School and at Laguna Middle 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 University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center (PRC) in Albuquerque.


Contact: Cindy Foster, 272-3322

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