Using the Juvenile Courts to Stop Teen Smoking
The purpose of this booklet is to provide guidance on the use of legal sanctions to address the problem of underage tobacco use. According to the staff from the Center for the Study of Youth Policy, underage smoking has increased even though it is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors and, in some States the use of tobacco by youth is illegal. Policymakers at the Federal, State, and local levels are searching for solutions to the problem of underage smoking. These efforts have increased significance in light of the $206 billion Tobacco Settlement. Legislative responses to youth smoking have included criminalizing, levying steep fines, and other punitive measures. In this booklet, the author discusses whether institutions like juvenile court can be helpful in dealing with underage smoking. The author reviews relevant juvenile justice issues and provides a list of twelve safeguards that the States must follow it they elect to criminalize smoking for children. The author writes that these precautions can be taken to assure that the legislation is at least humane, reasonably effective, and constitutional.