Franklin — The city had a 100 percent compliance rate on this year's tobacco compliance checks, meaning that all of the tobacco retailers tested did not sell tobacco products to minors.

According to Franklin Health Nurse Julianna Manske, this is a sign that store clerks in the city are being vigilant.

"The compliance rate is due to the clerk clearly looking at the youth’s driver’s license and saying 'no' to the sale of tobacco products to minors," Manske said. "Having a 100 percent compliance rate means that (fewer) youth are able to purchase tobacco products illegally in Franklin, creating a safer place to live, work, learn, and play."

Through the Wisconsin Wins program, Franklin teens went as "undercover shoppers" to try to purchase tobacco products at local stores, including grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and tobacco outlets. According to Mankse, anyone with a retail license to sell tobacco is subject to a random compliance check.

Clerks who refuse to sell tobacco products to teens in these tests are rewarded through the Wisconsin Wins program with a follow-up letter from the Health Department congratulating the establishment and the clerk for not selling tobacco to minors. The department also includes a gift card for the clerk, funded by Wisconsin Wins, as a tool for "positive reinforcement."

According to the Wisconsin Wins website, "This approach creates community pride by reducing youth access to tobacco products and providing youth a chance to make a difference in their community."

With almost 3,000 children starting to smoke every year in Wisconsin, according to statistics from Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, taking steps like this to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors can be instrumental in reducing that number.

Franklin was one of the first cities to start conducting youth tobacco compliance checks back in 1995. Today, compliance checks are completed statewide through Wisconsin Wins.

In addition to compliance checks, health departments around the state conduct retailer education and training, media outreach, and community education through the Wisconsin Wins program.

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