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PHOENIX -- In an effort to reduce Arizona's illegal commercial tobacco sales to minors, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has launched CounterActs, an educational anti-tobacco public relations campaign supported by advertising.
CounterActs works directly with the retail and law enforcement communities to keep tobacco out of the hands of minors. Retail chains such as Circle K and 7-Eleven are currently implementing the campaign in their stores. As part of the program, each participating chain receives CounterActs retail kits with various training tools to help educate clerks on the fines associated with illegally selling tobacco to minors, the health risks associated with tobacco use and the economic impact selling tobacco to minors in Arizona.
"Through CounterActs, ADHS is reinforcing the law, motivating retailers to abide by the law and then rewarding those who do the right thing - with the ultimate goal of keeping tobacco away from minors," the group said in a statement.
On behalf of the CounterActs campaign, ADHS has enlisted both the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Attorney General to conduct random compliance inspections to ensure retail establishments follow the law. Compliance inspections report that among Maricopa County (Arizona's largest county) retailers, teens have a 30 percent buy rate when attempting to purchase commercial tobacco products. With these organizations, CounterActs is working to reduce that number and send kids away empty-handed.
Cathy Bischoff, office chief for the ADHS Tobacco Education & Prevention Program is available to discuss this innovative campaign in greater detail. Also, we can provide a representative from Circle K to discuss the CounterActs implementation and how it has changed the way they conduct business in their stores.
Retailers also participating in the program will be recognized with "retailer rewards." The rewards include the following:
* Tickets to sporting events such as Phoenix Coyotes, Phoenix Suns; and Arizona Diamondbacks
* Movie passes
* Retail gift certificates