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Chicago merchants would be required to remove self-service displays of cigarettes, smokeless tobacco products and all smoking materials behind the counter under an anti-shoplifting crackdown proposed yesterday that would put teen smoking on par with underage drinking.
Although many merchants already keep tobacco products out of reach, 13 percent of all underage smokers still manage to get their cigarettes by stealing them from self-service displays, claimed Annie Tegen, director of health policy for the American Lung Association.
Minors who try to buy their own cigarettes -- flouting a city ordinance that bans the sale of tobacco products to anyone under 18 -- also are less likely to be carded when they pick up a pack of cigarettes themselves, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"In Chicago, it is still far too easy for children to get their hands on a pack of cigarettes," Tegen said. The ordinance advanced by the Health Committee on Monday would require tobacco products to be in a secure location under the direct supervision of store employees.
"No self-service displays of cigarettes or other tobacco products shall be permitted," the ordinance states. Resistant retailers would face fines ranging from $100 to $1,000 for each offense.