As little as one penny per pack of cigarettes sold in the United States could fund an enforcement program that would reduce the amount of tobacco products sold to minors, a new study reports.
Such a program could save 10 times as many lives as the same amount of money spent on mammograms or screening for colorectal cancer, according to Dr. Joseph R. DiFranza of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester and colleagues.
DiFranza and his team of researchers reviewed states' progress reports and found there was wide variation in the enforcement of laws prohibiting the sale of tobacco to minors. Their results are published in the journal Preventive Medicine.
"Some states, like Wyoming, have never enforced laws that penalize merchants for selling tobacco to minors," DiFranza said in an interview with Reuters Health. . .
Currently, the vast majority of states are not spending nearly enough money to do a good job, DiFranza noted.
Reuters (Mar 1, 2001), by Keith Mulvihill,