Tobacco vending machines must be in direct view of employees, contain only tobacco products
80% of adult smokers who are nicotine dependent report that they started smoking before the age of 18 (SAMHSA)
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Montana Youth Access to Tobacco - Compliance Check FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions:
  • WHAT IS REWARD & REMINDER? IS THIS A "STING"? - Some people refer to compliance checks as "stings", but that is not accurate because it is a survey rather than an official inspection. The surveys are done for educational purposes only. We want to remind clerks that Montana prohibits the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age (MCA 16-11-305) and reward clerks who do the right thing (asking for ID and refusing tobacco sales to minors) by personally thanking them and giving them the opportunity to enter a quarterly drawing for a $100 gift certificate.

  • WHY DID I GET SURVEYED? AM I OR IS THIS BUSINESS BEING SPECIFICALLY TARGETED? - Surveys are assigned to every business in a county that sells tobacco rather than to an individual business. No single individual or business is ever targeted and we do not assign surveys based on customer reports or complaints.

  • HOW IS THIS PAID FOR? WHY ARE THESE SURVEYS TAKING PLACE? Surveys are not paid for by Tobacco Settlement money. In 1992, Congress passed the Synar amendment. It mandated the reduction of youth access to tobacco products as a condition of receiving all of a States Federal block grant funds for substance abuse prevention and treatment. DPHHS contracts these surveys because they have proven to be essential to reducing youth access to tobacco in Montana.

  • ARE SURVEYS LEGAL? ISN'T IT ILLEGAL FOR MINORS TO ATTEMPT TO PURCHASE TOBACCO? - Surveys and inspections are required by Montana law and cooperation with them is a condition of your possessing a tobacco license. Minors are usually prohibited from attempting to purchase tobacco products, however in the case of Reward and Reminder surveys and official inspections, MCA 16-11-310 removes liability under civil or criminal law for individuals under 18 years of age who assist in enforcement of Montana Code.

  • IF I GOT A WHITE CARD, AM I IN TROUBLE? - Reward and Reminder functions like an official inspection, but because the minor never completes the sale of the tobacco item, no violation takes place and no fine or administrative sanction is made. A white card is received because, in the judgment of the adult surveyor and in conjunction with established program criteria, it appears that a clerk would have been willing to make a sale. The clerk has not broken the law and is simply receiving a friendly reminder of what the law is. This is not intended to embarrass the clerk and the clerk has the option to disagree with our surveyor's opinion.
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