The RSPD has conducted a series of compliance checks for alcohol and tobacco vendors.
The RSPD made it public knowledge of who was compliant with the liquor and tobacco laws, and who was not compliant.
Compliance checks play an important role in our community, and here’s why.
As of December 20th 2019 the age for purchase of tobacco was changed. However, the age for purchasing alcohol has been the same since July 1st 1998. Wyoming was also the last state in the country to change its legal drinking age to 21 after the National Minimum Drinking Age Act passed in 1984.
The importance of the legal age for purchase of alcohol and tobacco being raised to 21 is for many reasons, most of which have to do with prevention and harm reduction. One reason for the increase in minimum age for alcohol is due to traffic accidents. By increasing the alcohol purchase age to 21, the hope was to decrease driving accidents and fatalities among those aged 16-20, which did prove successful.
Another reason for the age increases in both alcohol and tobacco laws has to do with cognitive development. As the brain is in development lots of things are happening, specialized areas are maturing in their functions as well as physical restructuring. The neural connections in our brains can become interrupted when we introduce a substance at an age that is too early or in development. An undeveloped adolescent brain may begin to get used to a substance and while they are still undergoing development the pathways may begin to rewire placing an importance of a substance rather than over necessities for health maintenance.
Both alcohol and nicotine are highly addictive substances. We know that in the college and young adult cultures binge drinking is more of a norm than just to have a casual beverage here or there. So, the message to take away here is that for our youth there are serious risks associated with using a substance like nicotine or alcohol before the legal age.
About Compliance Checks
Compliance checks are conducted in order to make sure vendors and retailers are following these laws for sales. A compliance check is conducted with the help of a minor as a decoy. This underage person will attempt to purchase alcohol or tobacco products from a vendor/retailer, and wait to be asked for proof of age and identification. If asked, the underage person must provide their real identification card and not a fake.
If the retailer chooses to sell a product without checking for identification, or chooses to sell to the underage person after seeing a form of ID stating they are under the legal age then that is seen by law enforcement as noncompliant. If the vendor recognizes that the person is not of legal age to purchase alcohol or tobacco products and refuses to make a sale, then that vendor will be seen as compliant by law enforcement. If the vendor fails a compliance check then they will pay a fee or fine and employees responsible of the sale may also be charged individually, a fine, and may possibly be suspended form employment.
Here is the latest information on recent compliance checks:
Tobacco Compliance Checks
March 9, 2021– Passed: 19 Failed: 6
May 5, 2021– Passed: 23 Failed: 1
Alcohol Compliance Checks
December 3, 2020– Passed: 29 Failed: 5
May 4, 2021– Passed: 34 Failed: 5