Youth Appreciate Cibola Merchants' Smoking Screens

Students who inspected Cibola County merchants this spring as part of the ACL Teen Centers’ Tobacco Merchant Compliance Checks program found100% compliance rate by the three area merchants.A student who participated in the compliance checks stated, “ I liked knowing that the stores ask for ID.” Appreciation goes to the following merchants for not selling tobacco products to youth: Smith’s Food and Drug Center on Roosevelt Ave. in Grants, Voigt’s Freeway Shell on East Hwy 66 and Cubero’s Villa de Cubero. 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. In the fall of 2006, 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. Compliance checks are administered in the spring with the help of youth from the Pueblos of Acoma and Laguna, and To’hajiilee Reservation. This spring, four students, ages 14-17, 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. All three merchants passed these compliance checks. 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. 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 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 University of New Mexico Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Albuquerque. # # #

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