The city received a commendation from the YMCA Communities in Prevention-North for its efforts to prevent teen access to tobacco products.
Ann Reeves, a YMCA community organizer, said a survey this month of middle and high school students found that most of the teens did not have easy access to cigarettes, cigars or other tobacco products.
"It's mainly due to a tobacco ordinance the city passed," Reeves said, adding the primary concern of the YMCA was over self-serve racks in stores. "It put the cigarettes behind the cashier counters, as opposed to being in the open air where anyone could reach them."
A 1998 survey of city stores found that self-service access to cigarettes was common, Reeves said. This month's follow-up study found that 87% of those stores removed the racks, moving the cigarettes to more secure locations and requiring proper identification and age verification.