For the past decade, Smokecheck.org has been the online destination for Wisconsin tobacco retailers looking for training to help them avoid illegal tobacco sales and hefty fines. Now, the site has a new name, www.WITobaccoCheck.org, along with new features.
The training at www.WITobaccoCheck.org is still free, but new features for tobacco retailers are now included, like the ability to create a store account, monitor employee training progress, and download employee training certificates. The reason the new URL was chosen is to include other tobacco types beyond cigarettes that are increasingly popular with young people. In Wisconsin, 13% of Wisconsin high school students report smoking e-cigarettes, compared to 8.1% who report smoking cigarettes.
Lincoln County retailers are working to decrease these numbers by training staff, putting tobacco and other tobacco products behind their counters and moving products away from the candy sections at stores. In 2016, the rate of illegal tobacco sales in Lincoln County was 10%. Out of the 30 tobacco retail checks that were conducted, 3 sales were made to youth. This is down from the 2015 rate of 13.8% (29 checks were completed, 4 sales were made to youth). Although, our illegal sales rate has decreased slightly, we can do better. In 2011 we had a rate of 0%; out of the 34 tobacco retail checks, 0 sales were made to youth.
The www.WITobaccoCheck.org is designed to help retailers comply with Wisconsin State Statute 134.66, which forbids the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18. The consequences for not following Wisconsin tobacco sales law can be severe, including fines up to $500 or suspension of license.
This free site is easy to use/navigate. It will help employers know, track and prove which employees have been trained. We would like to thank all retailers that check ID’s and don’t sell tobacco products to minors. Together, we are making a difference in this community. We encourage all tobacco retailers to visit www.WITobaccoCheck.org and register their store today.
For more information on tobacco prevention and control activities in Lincoln County contact Judy Sargent, R.N., Public Health Nurse, for Lincoln County Health Department and Northwoods Tobacco Free Coalition member at 715-539-1377.