Learning Objectives: identify factors they need to consider when designing their own purchase attempt project.
Problem/Objective: To discuss several issues associated with purchase attempt (PA) projects.
METHODS: Stop Tobacco Access to Kids Enforcement (STAKE) Act Youth Purchase Survey is an annual, statewide, state-funded project to assess minors' access to tobacco. Through several years of experience with STAKE in California, we have contended with many issues affecting survey design and implementation.
RESULTS: The first step in a PA project is to identify the purpose (e.g., merely to document overall rates, to assess sales of specific products or in specific types of stores, to identify stores for prosecution?). Then, the appropriate protocol, addressing the various factors previously demonstrated to affect PA outcome, can be developed. These include: minor characteristics (i.e. age and ethnicity); interaction with the clerk (i.e. whether minors will show ID if requested and/or tell their true age); and whether the same store will be surveyed multiple times.
Several components then need to be addressed, including timeline; budget; store selection; verification of store information (address, whether they sell tobacco); mapping stores and routes; and designing data collection forms. Adults accompanying minors must be trained and made aware of regulations surrounding these activities, including liability and safety issues. Minors need to be recruited, and consent for their participation obtained from parents. Minors must be trained, and typically are compensated. Immunity from prosecution should be secured from local authorities.
Discussion: Each of these factors can significantly affect the design of the project, as well as how efficiently and effectively it can be carried out.
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