Underage tobacco sales down in Wisconsin, Wood County sales increase
For the Rapids City Times
WISCONSIN RAPIDS – Underage tobacco sales in Wisconsin fell from 7.1 percent in 2017 to 5.8 percent in 2018, according to the Federal Synar Survey which measures how frequently tobacco retailers sell to minors; meanwhile, here in Wood County, 19.6 percent of retailers sold tobacco to minors in 2018.
“We have several retailers who are diligently checking IDs and training employees, but there is still a lot of work to do,” said Ashley Normington, Wood County Health Department. “Our tobacco sales rate to minors during Wisconsin Wins checks are higher than usual here in Wood County, so we want to make sure we are connecting more with retailers on the importance of training employees, having follow up conversations, and rewarding those who are refusing sales to minors.”
Statewide, little cigars/cigarillos were the most sold item statewide at 7.4 percent, followed by smokeless tobacco (6.7 percent) and e-cigarettes (5.1 percent). All of these products come in candy and fruit flavors, which Normington says appeal to youth.
“We’ve seen flavors such as strawberry milk, watermelon, and mango in e-cigarette pods that sold to minors this year,” said Normington. “It’s not surprising flavors like that would interest kids.”
Free training to avoid underage tobacco sales is available at WITobaccoCheck.org. At the site, retailers and their employees can familiarize themselves with Wisconsin tobacco sales law and get tips for avoiding underage sales.
“We are grateful to Wood County retailers who have repeatedly refuse sales to minors and regularly train employees,” added Normington. “We encourage all retailers to visit WITobaccoCheck.org to set up their store account and take advantage of the free training offered through the site.”
Wood County retailers in compliance with the check include the following businesses. Please note that not all Wood County retailers were checked in 2018:
Marshfield: Bread & Butter Shop , 1727 N. Central Ave.; Bread & Butter Shop, 1000 N. Central Ave.; Bread & Butter Shop, 1502 S. Central Ave.; Festival Foods; Kwik Trip, 101 N. Central Ave.; The Store #82; Tobacco Outlet Plus; and Walgreens #13066. Nekoosa: Dollar General #13775; Piggly Wiggly; Terry’s BP; and The Party Connection. Pittsville: Lakeside Oasis. Wisconsin Rapids: Cloud City Vapors; Dollar General; Fast Fuel Mart, 1711 Baker Dr.; Fast Fuel Mart, 1151 W. Grand Ave.; Hollyrocks; Jammers Bar & Grill; K Mini Mart; Kelly’s Liquor Store; Kwik Trip, 3030 Plover Rd.; Kwik Trip, 1111 Lincoln St.; Kwik Trip, 2520 W. Grand Ave.; Kwik Trip, 4611 Eighth St. South; Rapids Shell; Richard’s Liquors; Saratoga Mini Mart; The Store, 4010 80th St. South; Walgreens; and Wal-Mart Super Center #1202.