Annual checks of retailers across the state show most are doing their best to keep tobacco products out of the hands of minors. Beth Kaplan with the Department of Health Services says the number of stores illegally selling tobacco to teens was at about 4.7-percent, down from 5.7-percent in 2009.
The state calculates the figure using adults and minors working with local health and police departments, who go in to retailers and try to illegally purchase tobacco products.
Kaplan says public service campaigns and efforts to educate retailers about asking for ID have really made it much harder for kids to buy cigarettes.
The fact that many teens are no longer lighting up in the first place has also helped. A survey released earlier this year found only about 18-percent of high school students in Wisconsin have tried tobacco. Kaplan says the statewide smoking ban and continued increases in the cigarette tax are also stopping teens, since the higher price often discourages them at the start.
The lowest noncompliance rate in the state was 4.5-percent in 2007. The state has to stay below 20-percent in order to keep federal funding.