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Scientific Study Proves Positive Effect of Frequent Compliance Checks

It’s always reassuring when scientific studies back up our own experience and research. We know that compliance checks are effective at decreasing sales to underage buyers, and we know that it is important to do checks regularly and often, but we also like being able to tell our clients that there is 3rd party research that backs this up.


For example, a study in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (Erickson, Smolenski, Toomey, Carlin, & Wagenaar, 2013) found that “a law enforcement check in the prior 30 days at the targeted establishment was associated with a 61% reduction in the odds of sales.” Interestingly, this study also found a “31% reduction in the odds of an alcohol sale to a pseudo-underage buyer for establishments that had one or more neighbors within 1 m–125 m that had a law enforcement compliance check within 90 days.” In other words, if your business undergoes a compliance check, that has a positive impact on your neighboring establishments as well. News that people are watching travels fast!


The other very important finding from this study was that the compliance-check-effect decays rapidly over time. There was a significant effect seen for up to 90 days post-check, but then the effect dissipates. This confirms our policy of conducting regular checks for each business. You can’t do a compliance check once a year and expect to see the same results. 


Ready to learn more about how The BARS Program can protect your business from the negative consequences of underage alcohol and tobacco sales? Contact us at 1-877-540-5500 or

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