Total retailer compliance results in regards to those provisions of sales-to-minors legislation prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to underage youth are as follows.
Weighted retailer national compliance for all outlets visited in 2006 is 81.7%, 0.9% higher than last year's compliance level of 80.8% (Chart 1). National trend comparisons, i.e., 2006 to 2005, are accurate +/- 2%, 19 times out of 20 at the 95% confidence level, making the difference from this year to last statistically insignificant. The raw unweighted results indicate an increase in compliance levels of 0.3% from 84.2% last year to 84.5% this year.
In regards to the raw data, the trend for retailers refusing to sell to minors is showing a steady increase from as far back as 1998 with only an insignificant drop in 2003 by 0.6% from the previous year.
The difference between the raw and weighted data in Chart 1 indicates that those areas having a greater impact or weight, i.e., large cities or regions, on the national results performed less desirably than those not having considerable weight. Regional data later in this report will highlight the differences.
The relationship between compliance levels and retailers asking for ID remains close (Chart 2). The difference between compliance and asking for ID is less than 2%, narrowing the gap from last year's 4.4%. The weighted average of retailers asking for ID has increased 3.5% from 76.4% to 79.9% and has rebounded to results experienced the year prior in 2004 of 80.1%.
The trend continues (Chart 3) from previous years as retailers continue to refuse tobacco to younger teens (15 and 16 year olds) at a greater rate than older teens (17 year olds). The difference between 15 year olds and 16 year olds is the same as last year (4%), with the largest drop in compliance when retailers are approached by 17 year olds (i.e., 8.8% less than 16 year olds, 12.8% less than 15 year olds and 2.8% less than the national compliance level).
Seventeen year olds represented about 48% of the minors; therefore, had a greater relative effect on the overall compliance levels than the other minor age groups individually (26% fifteen year olds and 26% sixteen year olds).
The trend of retailers asking for ID is similar to that of retailers refusing to sell tobacco products; that is to say, compliance levels are higher with younger minors than they are for older minors. Although the trend is the same, the margin between results of minor compliance is narrower with asking for ID than it is for refusing to sell (see Table 2). The spread between 15 year olds and 17 year olds when it comes to retailers asking for ID is 11.7%, whereas it is 17% when it comes to retailers refusing to sell tobacco. The rate of refusal (91.7%) is much higher than the rate of asking for ID (86.1%) when it comes to 15 year old minors. The gap narrows for 17 year olds where the rate of refusal is 74.7% and the rate of asking for ID is 74.4%.
Compliance levels are similar to last year; they are almost 100% when ID was asked for by the retailers and less than 52% when ID was not asked for, indicating a direct correlation between retailer policing (asking for ID) and compliance levels. Retailers are more likely not to sell to 15 year olds when not asking for ID than they are to 16 and 17 year olds combined. These results are in line with last year's1.
|Age of Minor||15 Year Olds||16 Year Olds||17 Year Olds|
|% Retailers Refusing to Sell||91.7%||87.7%||78.9%|
|% Retailers Asking for ID||86.1%||83.9%||74.4%|
|% Retailers Not Asking for ID||13.9%||16.1%||25.6%|
|Retailers Who Refused to Sell as % of Those Asking for ID||98.3%||96.8%||96.9%|
|Retailers Who Were Willing to Sell as % of Those Asking for ID||1.7%||3.2%||3.1%|
|Retailers Who Refused to Sell as % of Those Not Asking for ID||51.5%||23.1%||10.1%|
Statistically, only the clerks who were about the same age as the minor have shown an increase in compliance levels over last year when an attempt for purchasing tobacco product was made by a minor (Chart 4), with an increase of 5.8% over last year's 65.6% (71.4%). The compliance level where a senior clerk was involved dropped by 4.7% from 76.8% last year to 72.1% this year. The trend in compliance level measured by age of clerk is the same this year, with the exception of those instances where clerks were older than 25 but not senior citizens.
Eighty nine percent of the clerks sampled were older than the minor but not a senior citizen; falling within the two middle age categories (32% - "Older but < 25", 57% - "25+ but not Senior"). The rates of refusal for the clerks in these two age categories are close to the national mean of 81.7%.
Clerks older than 25 but not a senior citizen had the highest compliance level in all instances when measuring either willingness to sell or not to sell tobacco and whether asking for ID or not. Although this clerk age group performed the highest of all, it was only marginally better than the younger age group of "older than minor but less than 25" in all cases.
Retailers in 2006 treated both sexes equally when refusing to sell tobacco to minors. This year, compliance levels were roughly the same when it came to female and male minors, in contrast to last year's results when retailers were more likely to sell to female minors and the year prior when they were more likely to sell to male minors (Chart 5).
Retailers' compliance levels for refusing to sell tobacco to female minors has increased this year to levels more in line with those in 2004 when the difference in retailers' compliance levels between male and female minors was insignificant.
The average of these two compliance levels (male and female) equals the national mean, indicating a neutral weighting effect on the overall results. This is likely due to the equal number of female and male minors used and the proportionate distribution of them across the regions.
In both cases (Table 4), male and female minors were refused tobacco in almost every instance where they were asked for ID by the retailer (male 97.3%, female 97.2%). In all cases, the results between male and female minors were roughly the same, except when refusing to sell when ID was not asked for. In this case, the compliance level was significantly higher with male minors than female.
|Sex of Minor||Male||Female|
|% of Retailers Refusing to Sell||81.8%||81.7%|
|% of Retailers Asking for ID||79.2%||80.5%|
|% of Retailers Not Asking for ID||20.8%||19.5%|
|Retailers Refusing to Sell as % of Those Asking for ID||97.3%||97.2%|
|Retailers Willing to Sell as % of Those Asking for ID||2.7%||2.8%|
|Retailers Refusing to Sell as % of Those Not Asking for ID||22.4%||18.0%|
This year there is a statistically significant difference between the likelihood of male and female clerks refusing a sale: female clerks 83.3%, male clerks 80.3%.
Compliance levels among female clerks remained virtually unchanged over the last three years and compliance levels among male clerks increased significantly this year to levels once experienced in 2004 (Table 5). The percentage of male clerks asking for ID has increased substantially from last year (6.6%).
|% Refused to Sell||% Who Asked for ID||% of Those Asking for ID Who Did Not Sell|
Teens tend to spend much of their time either near a school or mall, making compliance levels of those retailers selling tobacco products in those areas of particular concern. Tobacco retailers within a 300-metre radius of a school or mall are considered to be in "proximity" and are therefore included as such. Close to 44% of the total retailers surveyed this year were near a school or mall, slightly higher than last year (39%), but lower than the year before (48.0%). The variance is due to random sampling.
This year there was no significant difference in compliance when retailers were near a school and/or mall, or located elsewhere. Retailers near a school and/or mall had compliance levels higher (but not significantly different) than the national average with those retailers elsewhere having compliance levels slightly lower, but again not significantly different (see Table 6).
Retailers near a school and/or mall asking for ID have not changed significantly from last year, which is a direct relationship to the null change in the rate of refusal to sell. Retailers elsewhere, on the other hand, have increased their rate of asking for ID significantly from last year (up 4.6%), adding to the increase in compliance levels of refusing to sell tobacco to minors.
|% Refused to Sell||% Who Asked for ID|
|Year||Near School/Mall||Elsewhere||Near School/Mall||Elsewhere|
Compliance results were collected to determine if retailers were more or less willing to sell tobacco to minors based on time of day (Chart 6).
Of all outlets:
18.6% were visited after 6:00 pm;
24.4% were visited between 3:00 pm and 6:00 pm;
33.1% were visited between noon and 3:00 pm; and
23.9% were visited before noon.
Since the majority of visits (57.5%) were performed between noon and 6:00 pm, these results are given more consideration than those outside of this time period. The average compliance level of these two time slots is 81.9%, which falls close in line with the national average of 81.7%.
Outlets visited before noon and after 6:00 pm represented 42.5% of total visits and their average compliance level was 80.1%, slightly lower than the national average, but not significantly.
The effect of an adult customer in the outlet on compliance levels is estimated by tabulating their presence at the time of an attempt to purchase by a minor (Chart 7).
Consistent with last year, adult customers were present in 62% of all outlets visited. For the first time since 2002, compliance levels varied insignificantly if an adult was or was not present. In all years between 2002 and 2005, compliance levels were typically higher when an adult was present. The rate whether adults were present or not was in line with the national compliance rate.
Compliance levels have increased only slightly in all class of trades, except chain convenience where compliance has increased significantly by almost 6% (Chart 8).
Due to the increase in the number of provinces banning the sale of tobacco in pharmacies, this class of trade has been omitted from this year's analysis. In the past, pharmacies were always good performers and the compliance level of this class of trade was typically equal to or greater than the national average. However, there is little impact on the overall compliance level since pharmacies represented a very small share of the national sample (6%). The sample was re-distributed among the remaining classes of trade.