Licensing Retail Tobacco Outlets as a Strategy to Improve MLA Enforcement and Compliance : VFHY
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Empower Series
Public Policy

Licensing Retail Tobacco Outlets as a Strategy to Improve MLA Enforcement and Compliance

December 16, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET

This Empower Series event is presented by The Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth and Prevention Connections.

The licensing of retail tobacco outlets has been proposed as a critical component of a comprehensive strategy for reducing sales of tobacco products to underage buyers (American Cancer Society, 2014).

Tobacco retail licensing (TRL) can be used to facilitate the enforcement of state minimum legal age (MLA) of sale laws. This presentation will be divided into two sections. In the first section, we will use data from a national study on TRL systems to identify the major TRL models being used (e.g., annual vs multi-year licenses), describe the range and average of licensing fees, and summarize the types of fines/penalties being used for violations of state MLA laws.

In the second section, we will present an agent-based model to explain the complex mechanisms involved in licensing at the individual and systems levels, and predict the effects of licensing on MLA enforcement and compliance in Virginia. These data will help assess the potential value of TRL in reducing youth tobacco use.

Learning Objectives

  • To understand the role of licensing retail tobacco outlets in enforcing laws on the minimum legal age for tobacco sales.
  • To understand the different approaches being used by states to license retail tobacco outlets and the penalties being used for violations of state MLA laws.
  • To understand how simulation modeling can be used to predict the effects of licensing on MLA enforcement and compliance.

Register today!

Xiaolu Cheng is a postdoctoral fellow in Big Data and Systems Science Modeling Lab at Virginia Commonwealth University. She obtained her Ph. D. degree in computer science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2018. Her primary research interests include machine learning, social networks, data science, cybersecurity, and vehicular network. She works on applying advanced data mining and social network analysis technologies to study the relationship between environmental factors, health behavior, health policy, and epidemics to provide preventive procedures for public health. She is conducting the simulation of the relationship between tobacco control policies and tobacco product use and several natural language processing projects.


Ms. Kristina Kohler received a bachelors degree in psychology in 2008 from Tallinn University. After graduating, she began working as an analyst for the Ministry of Social Affairs of the Republic of Estonia. In 2010, she earned a masters degree in public health with a specialization in epidemiology from the University of Tartu. She currently holds the position of adviser in the analysis and statistics department at the Ministry of Social Affairs. The main area of her work is public health analysis and research. Her responsibilities include assessing and monitoring all Estonian development plans and strategies to ensure that health-related issues are addressed in accordance with current policies.


December 16, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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