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Does a minimum-age law for purchasing tobacco make any difference?: Swedish experiences over eight years
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Health and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2986-2128
2007 (English)In: European Journal of Public Health, ISSN 1101-1262, E-ISSN 1464-360X, Vol. 17, no 2, p. 171-177Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: The purpose was to study possible changes in adolescents' opportunities for purchasing tobacco during the period 1996–2005. The study also investigated regional differences in adolescents' opportunities for purchasing tobacco, and elucidated the efforts by the authorities to affect the compliance with the minimum-age law of 18. Methods: In 1996, 1999, 2002, and 2005, 3150 test purchases of tobacco were conducted in controlled forms by 48 adolescents in three regions of Sweden. In addition, in 2005, 28 structured telephone interviews were conducted with key people in tobacco prevention work. Results: In 1996, 84% of all test purchases in shops with a voluntary age-limit ended with the test purchasers succeeding in purchasing tobacco. This may be compared with 48% in 2005, 8 years after the age-limit law was introduced. The result of the test purchases and of the interviews showed differences between the three regions in compliance and in activities connected with the minimum-age tobacco law. Conclusions: The study shows that the minimum-age law for the purchase of tobacco has had an effect on adolescents' opportunities for purchasing tobacco and that compliance has improved since its introduction in 1997. The result also indicates avenues for further improving compliance with the age-limit law.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 17, no 2, p. 171-177
Keywords [en]
adolescents, minimum-age law, tobacco
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2643DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/ckl109OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-2643DiVA, id: diva2:24982
Available from: 2010-05-12 Created: 2010-05-12 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Har förbudet att sälja tobak till minderåriga påverkat ungdomars möjligheter att köpa tobak?: En studie av lagen om 18-årsgräns från 1997
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Har förbudet att sälja tobak till minderåriga påverkat ungdomars möjligheter att köpa tobak?: En studie av lagen om 18-årsgräns från 1997
2006 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Alternative title[en]
Has the prohibition of tobacco sales to minors affected adolescents' possibilities to purchase tobacco? : A study of the Swedish minimum-age law introduced in 1997
Abstract [en]

Smoking habits in adolescence have a strong impact on smoking habits in adulthood. Nine of ten adult smokers started smoking before the age of eighteen. Thus, efforts to prevent the use of tobacco among minors are of great interest. In 1997 a minimum-age law of 18 years for purchase of tobacco was introduced in Sweden. The purpose of the age limit was to reduce the availability of tobacco to young people and hence ultimately to reduce the consumption of tobacco.

The overall purpose of the work reported in the present thesis was:

  • to study whether the Swedish minimum-age law for the purchase of tobacco has affected young people’s possibilities of buying tobacco
  • to study how compliance with the minimum-age law for the purchase of tobacco can be improved
  • to develop methods for following compliance with the minimum-age law for the purchase of tobacco.

The empirical basis for the work was three different types of data:

  1. Test purchases of tobacco in 1996, 1999, 2002 and 2005 in Värmland, Västernorrland and Malmö. In total there were forty-eight test purchasers that made 3,150 test purchases.
  2. Questionnaire surveys on tobacco habits and attitudes that were carried out in 1996, 2000 and 2005 among students in grades 7 and 9 of the compulsory school and in 1996 and 2000 in grade 2 of the upper-secondary school. All data was collected in the same three regions as the test purchase studies. The questionnaire was completed by a total of about 57,000 students.
  3. Structured telephone interviews in 2005 with 28 key people in tobacco prevention work in the three regions.

In conclusion, the thesis shows that:

  • the minimum-age law introduced in 1997 for the purchase of tobacco products has limited adolescents’ opportunities for purchasing tobacco. Compliance with the minimum-age law is, however, still incomplete
  • the most important factor in whether test purchasers were able to buy tobacco was whether there was an age control (as the law prescribes)
  • compliance with the minimum-age law differs among the three regions studied. It is reasonable to assume that the regional differences can be related partly to regional differences in the effectiveness of the measures taken to ensure compliance with the law
  • the proportion of daily smokers among students in grade 9 in the compulsory school declined from 1996 to 2005 in Värmland and Västernorrland but there was no change in Malmö
  • the method used for test purchase of tobacco and further developed and adapted for Swedish conditions, functioned well for following compliance with the law.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2006. p. 103
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2006:29
Keywords
smoking, prevention, tobacco, adolescents, minimum-age law of 18 years, test purchases, tobak, 18-årsgräns, ungdomar, provinköp, rökning, prevention
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public Health Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2639 (URN)91-7063-060-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2006-09-29, Ericssonsalen, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-05-11 Created: 2010-05-11 Last updated: 2010-05-11Bibliographically approved

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Sundh, MonaHagquist, Curt

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