Kids Can't Buy'Em Here Campaign

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The Wood Dale Police Department, through a grant sponsored by the Illinois Liquor Commission, has been conducting tobacco compliance checks since 2000. The grant enables the Wood Dale Police Department to fund the training of local area juveniles and businesses, to help discourage the sale of tobacco to the youth of Wood Dale. The grant is funded by the 1998 Master settlement agreement between tobacco manufacturers and the 48 states, not taxpayer money.

Prior to performing the checks, the businesses are visited by the Police Department’s State Certified Tobacco Compliance Specialist. The business is reminded about the program, and offered free training to their employees. Businesses with perfect compliance records are also rewarded with gold “Kids Can’t Buy’em Here” lapel pins, and encouraged to keep up the good work.

The Wood Dale Police Department has recruited several local youths, ages 15-17, to attempt to purchase tobacco from the businesses. Officers Steve Pernice, Matt Nelson, Mike Danzi, and Justin Bjes oversee the volunteer juveniles in the program and throughout the training process. The juveniles are trained on how to fairly and discreetly enter a business and attempt to purchase tobacco products. The juvenile requires parental permission to participate in this program.

In a 2011 study by the CDC, it was determined that 18.1% of high school students have smoked one or more cigarettes, while the number is 4.3% of middle school students. Of the high school age students, 16.1% were female and 19.9% were male high school students.

During the last nine years (since 2004), Wood Dale businesses have had a compliance rate of over 95% which exceeds the state average of 90%. When the businesses have a violation, the Police Department works with them to correct the violation, with re-training provided, if necessary.

Wood Dale Police supervised 70 cigarette sales compliance checks in 2013, resulting in three sales to minors. That’s a 97.1% compliance rate in 2013 by Wood Dale tobacco businesses, a much higher compliance rate than the state average.

Businesses who sell to the minors are cited under the local ordinance and with continual or numerous violations can face fines in the hundreds or even suspension of their tobacco license.